Activists wearing Just Stop Oil T-shirts ran toward the wicket at the center of the pitch, spilling orange powder onto the outfield at Lord’s Cricket Ground – one of the world’s most prestigious sporting venues – which is staging the Test match between England and Australia in north-west London.
The protesters had emerged from the Grand Stand and sprinted onto the pitch after just one over.
However, they fell short in their efforts to reach the wicket, with one of them stopped by the intervention of England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
The 33-year-old Bairstow picked up one of the protestors before carrying him off the pitch and back to the stands.
England captain Ben Stokes also joined teammate Bairstow in halting the progress of the protestors as they tried to deposit orange powder.
When it came to the cricket, it was a day that was dominated for the most part by Australia. England struggled to take advantage of the favorable bowling conditions and the visitors reaped the rewards.
Australia finished the day on 339-5 with Australia’s talismanic batter Steve Smith making 85 not out, alongside Travis Head who scored an impressive 77.
“MCC condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s pitch incursion and with the behaviour of the protestors involved,” said the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) CEO Guy Lavender. The MCC is the owner of Lord’s.
“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,” added Lavender.
London’s Metropolitan Police said three people had been arrested and taken into custody.
“Cricket is an important part of our national heritage, but how can we enjoy England vs Australia when much of the cricketing world is becoming unfit for humans to live in?,” said Just Stop Oil in a statement.
“We can no longer afford to distract ourselves when the sports we play, the food we eat, and the culture we cherish is at risk.
“It’s time for cricket lovers and all those who understand the severity of this situation, to get onto the streets and demand action from this illegitimate, criminal government. When our children ask us ‘what did we do’ to avert this crisis, we better have a good answer.”
Earlier this year, a Just Stop Oil protester interrupted the World Snooker Championships by climbing onto the table and throwing a bag of orange powder paint over the playing surface.
Australia won the first of the five-Test series at Edgbaston in Birmingham last week.