During the second Ashes Test at Lord’s, players from England and Australia were instructed not to engage with pitch invaders from the Just Stop Oil protest group. Despite this advice, Jonny Bairstow took action to remove one of the protesters from the field, leading to three arrests and the disruption caused by the throwing of orange powder onto the outfield.
One of the intruders was carried away by Bairstow, while Ben Stokes and David Warner stopped another protester. Warner explained that their primary concern was protecting the wicket, as damage to the pitch could cause significant delays and disruption in cricket compared to other sports. Although players were instructed to stay away from the protesters, Warner felt it was necessary to prevent any potential harm to the wicket and maintain the smooth progression of the game.
“The instruction was to keep our distance and be cautious,” said Warner. “We understood the impact their actions could have on the wicket, so our priority was safeguarding it and acting in its best interests.”
The advice to players had been conveyed through the England and Wales Cricket Board’s security channels before the match. Heightened security measures had been implemented for major cricket events, as evidenced by the brief stoppage of England’s team bus by protesters on their way to the Test against Ireland at Lord’s earlier in June.
During the World Test Championship final between Australia and India at The Oval, a reserve pitch was prepared in case the original surface was damaged, and a similar contingency plan was believed to be in place at Lord’s.
Warner acknowledged the delicate nature of the situation, stating, “It’s a touchy situation. You don’t want to be involved in that. It was quite confronting because you don’t know how to respond.”
The incident occurred on the first day of the match, just one over into the game, when the protesters entered the field from the Lord’s Grandstand. Initially confronted by the players, they were subsequently apprehended by both venue security staff and the ECB.
Bairstow received cheers from the crowd as he carried one protester from the field to the boundary edge. He then temporarily left the field, presumably to change his shirt and wicketkeeping gloves due to the orange powder landing on his kit, which had spread across the square and outfield.
“If Jonny hadn’t acted, who knows how the game would have unfolded?” remarked England pace bowler Josh Tongue to Sport Newes Center. “It could have even been called off. He’s a bit of a hero!”
Tongue further added, “I had my back turned. I heard Jonny shout and then saw him running after the protester. Personally, I wouldn’t have approached them in case they had anything else on them.”
At the end of the first day, Australia finished on 339-5 after being asked to bat first, with Steve Smith unbeaten on 85.
The Just Stop Oil protesters have caused disruptions in other sporting events this year, including the rugby union Premiership final and the World Snooker Championship. The environmental protest group is advocating for the government to halt all new oil, gas, and coal projects.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Just Stop Oil protesters
Q: What happened during The Ashes 2023 match at Lord’s involving Just Stop Oil protesters?
A: During The Ashes 2023 match at Lord’s, two Just Stop Oil protesters invaded the field, leading to a confrontation with players. One protester was carried away by Jonny Bairstow, while another was stopped by Ben Stokes and David Warner. The players were advised not to engage with the protesters, but their actions were aimed at protecting the wicket and preventing potential disruptions caused by damage to the pitch.
Q: Were there any consequences for the protesters?
A: Yes, three people were arrested after the incident. Their intrusion and the throwing of orange powder on the outfield resulted in their apprehension by both the venue’s security staff and the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board).
Q: Why were players instructed not to confront the pitch invaders?
A: Players were advised not to engage with the Just Stop Oil protesters to avoid any potential escalation or harm. The primary concern was to safeguard the wicket, as damage to the pitch could cause significant disruptions and delays in cricket matches.
Q: What measures were taken to prevent disruptions from protesters at cricket matches?
A: Heightened security measures have been implemented around major cricket matches. For example, a reserve pitch was prepared during the World Test Championship final between Australia and India at The Oval in case the original surface was damaged. Similar contingency plans were believed to be in place at Lord’s as well.
Q: Who is the Just Stop Oil protest group, and what are they advocating for?
A: The Just Stop Oil protesters are an environmental activism group. They call for the government to halt all new oil, gas, and coal projects. They have disrupted various sporting events, including the rugby union Premiership final and the World Snooker Championship, in their efforts to raise awareness about environmental issues.