The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to throw tricky and novel challenges cricket’s way, with nearly all media barred from attending the first Test between Sri Lanka and England.
That has presented a particular problem to both Sky Sports and BBC Test Match Special, with both forced to commentate over the top of a TV feed while situated in the UK, rather than from Galle.
For the most part, it has gone relatively smoothly, but TMS stalwart Jonathan Agnew was undone by the perils of remote working in the evening session of the fourth day. Joe Root had just taken a good catch at slip to remove Wanindu Hasaranga off the bowling of Jack Leach, and Agnew could barely believe his eyes as the dismissal was seemingly repeated the very next ball.
“Here’s Leach, bowling, and the new batsman’s edged it,” said the veteran broad. “Has Root caught him again? Or has it spun straight out of the rough? He has! It’s like an action replay. Exactly the same. I don’t know what [Dilruwan] Perera was doing there to his first ball, his eyes lighting up.”
It was only at this point that Agnew realised his mistake. “Or, it was a replay. It was a replay. Oh god I’m sorry. Why didn’t someone tell me?”
With Phil Tufnell laughing in the background, Agnew lamented the early mornings for dulling his alertness. “There’s only so many three o’clocks a man can take.”
Tufnell wasn’t the only one amused. “Look at the delight on my colleauges’ faces on Zoom, you’re a cruel lot,” Agnew said, and their mirth was mirrored by many on social media.
One suggested it will be the cricketing highlight of 2021, while another claimed it would end up on a par with the infamous ‘leg over’ moment, also involving Agnew, when an accidental innuendo nearly reduced Brain Johnston to tears as he attempted to summarise a day’s play.
#bbccricket Aggers commentating on the replay with tuffers giggling – clearly will be the highlight of this cricketing year!? Calling it early?!
— Diccon Thornely (@DicconT) January 17, 2021
Aggers commentating on the replay of Root’s catch ! That will go down in the @bbctms annals on a close par with ‘leg over’! 👏👏 ..for giving us a huge laugh this morning 😂😂@ejrainfordbrent @philtufnell @bbc5live @EllyOldroyd @chriswarburton_ @MichaelVaughan
— ѕтєνє (@bjstevec) January 17, 2021
The TMS social media team ensured the moment would live on in perpetuity, posting a snippet of the commentary on Twitter. Listen below:
There are definitely perils to commentating off the TV…
— Test Match Special (@bbctms) January 17, 2021