England’s Test summer failed to get off to the best start after the team bus was delayed on its way to Lord’s by Just Stop Oil protesters.
Jonny Bairstow posted a photo on his Instagram story on Thursday morning, which showed Just Stop Oil protesters and police officers in front of their team coach in the middle of a road in Kensington by England’s hotel.
Bairstow’s caption read: “If we’re a bit late, it’s not our fault.”
However, there was no delay to proceedings on the opening day of the one-off Test against Ireland with the four-day contest getting under way at 11am as planned – despite the five-minute delay to the team’s journey.
Just Stop Oil protesters were able to disrupt the Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham between Saracens and Sale last weekend.
Two men wearing Just Stop Oil T-shirts invaded the pitch midway through the first half and threw orange paint powder onto the field before being removed by security staff.
A similar incident occurred at the Crucible during the World Snooker Championship in April.
Robert Milkins’ match against Joe Perry was interrupted when a man wearing a Just Stop Oil T-shirt jumped on to table one and tipped orange powder over the cloth.
Amid the threat of potential protests this week at Lord’s, the MCC said it has enhanced its security measures in some areas for this match.
“We look forward to welcoming players and spectators to the first international Test match of the summer at Lord’s. Their safety and security is the highest priority for MCC,” an MCC spokesperson told the PA news agency.
“We have a number of ground regulations that help us achieve that; including not entering the playing area or demonstrating.
“Whilst protests would disrupt the game, we have a number of security measures in place, some visible, some less so to deter this. In some areas we have enhanced those existing provisions ahead of this summer’s schedule.”
Stuart Broad, after taking five for 51 on day one to help dismiss Ireland for 172, joked he expected to see Just Stop Oil protesters make it onto the Lord’s pitch.
He said: “They made a mistake actually. If they really wanted to stop us, they shouldn’t have carried on walking at the traffic lights because they just gave us an exit round but I was half expecting to see them on the pitch at some stage today.
“They only caused us a five-minute delay and I think it only really annoyed Jonny Bairstow didn’t it.
“Everyone else was pretty relaxed about it.”