BT Sport were forced into broadcasting the fourth day of the opening Ashes Test through a camera on the boundary after a power outage wreaked havoc at the Gabba.
England’s second innings was midway through the 82nd over when host broadcaster Fox Sports’ world feed went down because of a power issue affecting the broadcast compound at the Gabba, consequently causing BT Sport also to lose pictures.
No immediate solution was found, causing the English broadcaster to bring coverage through a single camera – which was awkwardly positioned on the third man and long on boundary depending on the end the bowler was bowling from.
Ashes host broadcaster Fox Sports suffered a power outage during the fourth day of the opening Ashes Test
BT Sport were forced to broadcast play by using a single camera from third man and long on
All the resulting technology, including DRS, also went down for about 25 minutes, but eventually returned at the start of the 88th over – by which time Australia had taken the new ball – following the first drinks break of the day.
Cricket Australia tweeted: ‘There’s a power issue at the Gabba affecting the broadcast around the world. Hopefully back ASAP!’
It is understood that the technical issues – which also affected Channel Seven in Australia – were linked to Queensland’s closed borders due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, it was not the first glitch to hit the Gabba, prompting detractors to double down on their pre-match insistence that Queensland – with its strict Covid restrictions – should never have hosted the first Test of the Australian summer.
Ben Stokes was batting when the power outage occurred at the Gabba on the fourth morning
On the second day, it had emerged the front-foot technology which now routinely assists the third umpire in monitoring no-balls was faulty, meaning only one of the 13 no-balls Ben Stokes bowled in the morning session of day two was called.
Then, we were reminded that Real-Time Snicko was not available either – mainly because of limitations placed by the pandemic on the movement of the engineers who man it – which could have saved Dawid Malan from being given out on day three.
Sir Alastair Cook meanwhile poked fun at the camera used by BT Sport, saying: ‘This is like what my dad used to record watching me play in the back garden.’
But fans were left unhappy with pictures cutting out for around five overs of the England innings.
Jos Buttler occupied the England all-rounder at the crease as live pictures were cut
England lost three wickets before the feed went down at the start of their eventual collapse, with one user posting: ‘ Did someone from England pull the plug on the Fox Sports coverage?’
Another meanwhile simply added: ‘Fox sports’ coverage is embarrassing.’
Another Twitter user also linked England’s batting collapse with the pictures cutting out, posting: ‘Not sure who’s under more pressure this morning, the Pommy batters or the Fox Sports tech team.’
The Fox Sports commentary team – which includes the likes of Shane Warne – was also criticised during the first Test, with another adding: ‘First the Fox sports commentary being rubbish and now someone unplugged the wrong cable.’
Meanwhile, another user added: ‘Snicko, third umpire no balls, now Fox Cricket itself. The Gabba is reverting to the stone age before our very eyes.’
England fans may however have hoped for the outage to have occurred earlier to prevent them from watching the start of their batting collapse before lunch on day four.
Malan and Joe Root – who led the England fightback on day three with half-centuries – were dismissed by Nathan Lyon and Cameron Green within the first half hour, before Ollie Pope was caught by Steve Smith off the Australia spinner.
Stokes and Jos Buttler remained not out during the power outage but both departed soon after as England lost their final five wickets for just 31 runs.
Australia then knocked off the 20 runs required to win the Test and take a 1-0 series lead into the day-night game in Adelaide inside six overs, though Ollie Robinson did dismiss makeshift opener Alex Carey.