Sri Lanka find themselves at the top of the Super Six group of the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 qualifiers after beating Scotland in their last Group A match.
Keeping with cricket, England captain Ben Stokes claimed he had reaffirmed his faith with Bazball and will be sticking to it as the hosts take on Australia in the second Ashes Test, starting Wednesday.
Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff made it to the second round of the Wimbledon tune-up event in Eastbourne with comfortable wins.
Meanwhile, Manchester City have made their first major signing in the off-season, roping in Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for June 28, 2023:
Climate activists disrupt second Ashes Test
England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow wrestled a protester to the ground as climate activists briefly interrupted play on the first day of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s on Wednesday.
Just before Stuart Broad bowled the second over, two protesters from Just Stop Oil ran out of the Grandstand and onto the outfield, sprinkling the group’s trademark orange powder on the square but not on the pitch.
Bairstow grabbed one of the demonstrators and carried them off the playing surface, with the other apprehended by stewards.
A third demonstrator was tackled before making it onto the outfield.
Spectators booed the protesters as they were led away by stewards.
Metropolitan Police later said that they had arrested three people.
Following a delay of several minutes while the orange powder was removed by ground-staff, play resumed with Broad bowling from the Nursery End.
Just Stop Oil, which wants an end to new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, has disrupted a series of sporting events, including the British Formula One Grand Prix and Premiership rugby union final.
Protesters have tied themselves to goalposts during Premier League football matches and thrown orange powder on the green baize at the World Snooker Championship.
Just Stop Oil also delayed the England team bus taking the side to Lord’s for the lone Test against Ireland earlier this month.
A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said: “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?
“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.”
Rishi Sunak’s spokesman said the UK Prime Minister was “pleased play was able to resume quickly and thanks security staff, the swift hands of Jonny Bairstow and other England players who stepped in”.
UK police forces were controversially granted new anti-protest powers by the government earlier this year following years of disruptive demonstrations by environmental activists.
“These sorts of selfish, guerrilla tactics that target events bringing joy to millions are exactly why the government brought in new powers so the police can take swift action,” Sunak’s spokesman added.
Marylebone Cricket Club chief executive Guy Lavender said he “condemns in the strongest possible terms” the action.
Sri Lanka beat Scotland
Sri Lanka defeated Scotland by 82 runs Tuesday to advance to the Super Six stage of the Cricket World Cup qualifiers with maximum points, while Ireland secured a consolation win over the United Arab Emirates.
Opener Pathum Nissanka made 75 and Charith Asalanka scored 63 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 245 in Bulawayo, with Scotland spinners Chris Greaves (4-32) and Mark Watt (3-52) combining for seven wickets.
Scotland slid to 73-5 in reply and were eventually dismissed for just 163 after two run outs in the same over sealed their fate despite an enterprising 56 not out from Greaves.
Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions, go through as winners of Group B and will start on four points in the next round ahead of matches against the Netherlands, Zimbabwe and the West Indies.
Scotland carry over two points following Sunday’s win over Oman, the third team to qualify from the section.
The next phase of the tournament begins Thursday when hosts Zimbabwe play Oman. The top two finishers in the Super Six will qualify for the World Cup in India in October and November.
Manchester City sign Kovacic
Manchester City on Tuesday announced they had completed the signing of Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea following the loss of captain Ilkay Gundogan.
The treble winners said the 29-year-old had signed a four-year contract after the clubs reportedly agreed an initial fee of £25 million ($32 million), with a potential £5 million in add-ons.
Kovacic joins Pep Guardiola’s side after five years at Chelsea, where he won the Champions League and Europa League and made 221 appearances.
He is City’s first signing of the transfer window and his arrival compensates for the departure of Gundogan, who joined Barcelona on a free transfer on Monday after seven years at the club.
“This is a brilliant move for me and I cannot wait to get started with City,” said Kovacic.
“Anyone who has watched this team under Pep knows how good they are. For me, they are the best in the world.
“The trophies they have won are clear for all to see, but they are also the best footballing side out there.”
Kovacic is a four-time Champions League winner having also enjoyed success in Europe’s elite competition three times with Real Madrid before joining the Blues.
Pegula, Gauff cruise at Eastbourne
World No 4 Jessica Pegula and her fellow American Coco Gauff cruised into the last 16 of the Wimbledon warm-up event in Eastbourne on Tuesday.
Pegula saw off rising Chinese star Zheng Qinwen 6-3, 6-4 while Gauff beat Bernarda Pera 6-3, 6-2.
Former French Open finalist Gauff is still yet to win a title on grass despite bursting onto the scene with a run to the Wimbledon fourth round as a 15-year-old in 2019.
The teenager did not face a break point in the match and will next face Britain’s Jodie Burrage.
“Bernarda is not an easy player, especially a lefty on grass,” Gauff said.
“It was really windy today, so I think we were just trying to make one more ball in the court. Overall, I’m happy with today’s win.”
Second seed Caroline Garcia also progressed with a 6-1, 7-5 win over qualifier Madison Brengle.
In the men’s tournament, Mackenzie McDonald set up a last-16 tie with top seed Taylor Fritz by brushing aside Marco Cecchinato 6-3, 6-3.
Stokes to stick with Bazball
England captain Ben Stokes said an “awkward” changing room meeting with a new fan of Test cricket has underlined his faith in the team’s dynamic ‘Bazball’ method.
A policy of all-out attack has paid rich dividends since Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum joined forces last year, with England winning 11 out of 14 Tests.
But a thrilling two-wicket defeat by arch-rivals Australia in last week’s Ashes opener at Edgbaston led several former England internationals to warn Stokes’s men that they would need to curb their attacking instincts if they were to level the five-match series at Lord’s, where the second Test starts on Wednesday.
Stokes, however, is convinced England’s approach remains both their best chance of winning and attracting new fans to the red-ball game, with that belief reinforced by a chance encounter during a recent family break at Durham’s Seaham Hall hotel.
“I had a conversation in the men’s changing room at a spa about the game, which was a bit awkward,” Stokes told reporters at Lord’s on Tuesday.
“He said ‘are you the cricketer or do you just look like him?’ And I was like, yeah, it is me. He just said, ‘I went down to the pub after work and I don’t even follow cricket, I was just going to go down for a quick few’. He ended up having a few more and said he was just transfixed on the game.”
Stokes, adamant England “always want to win every game we play”, added: “So when you hear stuff like that it obviously makes you feel good about what we’re doing, that it’s bringing a new fanbase to the game and it’s reaching people that it might never have reached before.”
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day