Part-time spinner Joe Root took two late wickets to salvage some pride for England on the opening day of the second Test of the Ashes against Australia.
The tourists concluded the final session of Wednesday’s opening day at Lord’s on 339-5 with England’s stalwart seamers Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson struggling on the north London surface.
Usman Khawaja and David Warner opened the batting for Australia – who won the opening Test by two wickets at Edgbaston – but were disrupted early on by protestors from Just Stop Oil.
England wicket-keeper-batter Jonny Bairstow carried one of the protesters off to applause from the Lord’s crowd with the pitch invaders unable to deposit their trademark orange powder on the crease itself.
Ashes debutant Josh Tongue got the wickets of Warner (66) and Khawaja (17) before England stalled.
Ollie Robinson got Marnus Labuschagne for 47 but former captain Steve Smith piled on the runs and remained unbeaten at close on 85 not out.
Joe Root saved England’s face when it looked as if Australia would finish the final session only three wickets down.
The ex-England captain and part-time spinner took the wickets of Travis Head (77) and Cameron Green (0) in the same over.
Alex Carey (11 not out) is unbeaten at the crease alongside Smith – who surpassed 9,000 Tcareer est runs on day one.
“I think the new ball is crucial, the first 30 minutes, just hitting that line and length, just try and stay patient and we’ll get those wickets when we can,” Tongue, who took two wickets, said.
On Bairstow stopping the protestors he added: “[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.”
Australia start day two in north London with a lead of 339. England are yet to bat.