WATCH: Ravi Ashwin makes funny jibe as Bairstow lifts pitch invader out during Lords' Ashes Test
The second Test of the Ashes series commenced at the iconic Lord's stadium earlier today (June 28). England captain Ben Stokes chose to invite Australia to bat first. Known for its rich history and intense on-field battles, the rivalry between these two teams took an unexpected turn on the opening day of the Test. Instead of the players, it was a protester who grabbed the spotlight at the beginning of the match. After just one over, an individual breached the field, prompting England's wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow to casually pursue and apprehend the protester. Bairstow lifted the intruder onto his shoulders and carried him towards the boundary, earning tremendous applause from the enthusiastic crowd.
The protester was identified as a member of the 'Just Stop Oil' group, which has been advocating for the British government to cease granting licenses and approvals for new oil, gas, and coal projects.
While on the Lord's pitch, the protester had defaced the surrounding area with orange paint, causing a ten-minute pause in the match as the ground officials cleaned up the mess. After successfully escorting the intruder away from the playing area, Bairstow retreated to the dressing room to change his visibly stained attire.
England has recently been a victim of a series of protests
Ravichandran Ashwin, the star spinner of the Indian team, also shared his reaction to the incident. This is not the first occasion on which the 'Just Stop Oil' group has disrupted a prominent sporting event. In recent months, their protests have also halted the world snooker championship and the English Premiership rugby final.
In fact, there were concerns that the group might disrupt the World Test Championship final between India and Australia earlier this month, held at The Oval. However, no such incident occurred during that match.
Prior to the Test, Australian player Pat Cummins confirmed one change in their lineup from their victory at Edgbaston in the first Test. Left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc replaced Scott Boland. On the other hand, England made a change in their XI by bringing in Josh Tongue in place of Moeen Ali.