Jonny Bairstow carts protester off Lord’s pitch as Just Stop Oil disrupts Ashes

Jonny Bairstow carts protester off Lord’s pitch as Just Stop Oil disrupts Ashes

Jonny Bairstow carried a Just Stop Oil protester off the Lord’s pitch after the activist group targeted the first morning of the second Ashes Test.

The England wicketkeeper took matters into his own hands when two men ran on to the field armed with orange paint dust in a clear attempt to halt the match.

Bairstow, a keen rugby league player in his younger days, ran to meet one of the protesters and lifted them off their feet before carting them over the boundary edge.

Jonny Bairstow carries a protester off the pitch
Jonny Bairstow took matters into his own hands at Lord’s (Mike Egerton/PA).

Having handed them over to the stewards, he headed to the pavilion to change his whites, but his quick thinking may well have prevented a much lengthier delay to proceedings had the paint made it as far as the wicket.

The other protester, who attracted the attention of England captain Ben Stokes, was intercepted by security staff, while another was apprehended in the stands. All three were arrested.

Speaking on BBC’s Test Match Special, commentator Jonathan Agnew said: “Jonny Bairstow’s dander was up there, he was like a flanker. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen again, let’s hope that’s the one attack on the Ashes this year.”

Broadcasters largely chose not to highlight the incident, but former Australia captain Ricky Ponting offered one cheeky reference following a wicketless start to the morning.

“I didn’t want to say anything, but the one chance that’s come Jonny’s way, he’s held on to so far,” Ponting joked on Sky Sports.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said on Twitter: “We are aware of protesters on the Lord’s Cricket Ground pitch today, Wednesday, 28 June. Police have arrested three people and taken them into custody.”

Guy Lavender, chief executive of the Marylebone Cricket Club, which owns Lord’s, criticised those involved.

He said: “MCC condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s pitch incursion and with the behaviour of the protesters involved.

“Their actions not only endanger themselves and those who work at the ground, but they have consistently shown complete disregard for the people who pay to attend events, not just here at Lord’s but around the country at other sporting venues.”

England captain Ben Stokes bars the way of a Just Stop Oil protester
England captain Ben Stokes bars the way of a Just Stop Oil protester (Mike Egerton/PA).

Just Stop Oil said on Twitter: “At 11am, three Just Stop Oil supporters stormed the pitch at Lord’s Cricket Ground in a cloud of orange powder paint and disrupted the #Ashes2023 Second Test between England and Australia.”

Just Stop Oil protesters previously delayed England’s arrival for day one of their one-off Test against Ireland on June 1 by standing in front of their team coach outside their Kensington hotel.

It was Bairstow who highlighted the incident at the time by posting a picture of it on his Instagram story.

Just Stop Oil protesters were able to disrupt the Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham between Saracens and Sale last month. Two men wearing Just Stop Oil T-shirts invaded the pitch midway through the first half and threw orange paint powder on to the field before being removed.

A similar incident occurred at the Crucible during the World Snooker Championship in April.