England’s Jonny Bairstow dubbed a hero after removing pitch invader during second Ashes Test at Lord’s

Jonny Bairstow was branded a hero by his England teammates after he removed a pitch invader when the opening day of the second Ashes Test was disrupted by Just Stop Oil protesters.

Bairstow took matters into his own hands when three people entered the field from the Grand Stand at Lord’s six minutes into the day and threw orange paint powder onto the turf.

As the first protester ran towards the pitch he was shepherded away by England captain Ben Stokes and Australia’s David Warner before stewards rugby tackled him to the ground metres from the square.

Yet most remarkable was the sight of England wicketkeeper Bairstow grabbing hold of another protester, picking him up and marching him 50 yards off the field towards the boundary.

Bairstow’s heroics brought a loud cheer from the capacity crowd and as he walked back to take his position behind the stumps he was high-fived by teammate Harry Brook.

England’s players had been warned before the series not to approach any protesters in the eventuality they came onto the field.

Yet Bairstow’s quick thinking was widely praised by his team-mates afterwards, with Josh Tongue saying: “He’s a bit of a hero to be fair.

“If he didn’t stop him, they could’ve got on the pitch and done something to the pitch. Who knows? the game could’ve been called off.”

Tongue, who picked up two wickets on his Ashes debut on a day that saw Australia close on 339 for 5, added: “What Jonny did was a good thing. If they put powder on the wicket who knows where the game would be now?”

This latest protest follows several incidents where Just Stop Oil have disrupted sporting events, most recently at the Crucible in Sheffield during the World Snooker Championships in April when orange powder was thrown all over a table during a match between Robert Milkins and Joe Perry.

As such, groundstaff at Lord’s prepared a second pitch for use in case the first was damaged by the activist group.

Bairstow’s quick thinking saved the day (Photo: Getty)

Warner, who joined forces with Stokes to stop another protester at Lord’s, admitted: “Me and Stokesy didn’t really know what to do. We’d been warned beforehand that it might happen and for us we wanted to protect our wicket. We saw that at the snooker a month or so ago, we just wanted to protect the wicket to be honest.

“It’s a touchy situation, you don’t want to be involved in that but we wanted to stop them getting onto the wicket. It was quite confronting because you don’t know what to do in that situation, you usually let those people run their course but because they could potentially damage the wicket we felt like we had to intervene.

“We were actually told to stand away and be careful but we know what they’re trying to do to the wicket so it was about – not manhandling them like Jonny – but it was about protecting the wicket. I don’t know what that chalk does to the wicket but it would have been a long delay and we wouldn’t have wanted that.”

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