England v Australia, 1st npower Test, Cardiff, 5th day July 12, 2009

Airline protesters interrupt Test

The final day of the first Ashes Test at Cardiff was interrupted by a pitch invasion involving two protesters campaigning against the recruitment policies of a discount airline. John Foley and Anthony Lea stormed the field during the 51st over, brandishing a banner decrying the Michael O'Leary-owned Ryanair for supposedly charging would-be recruits for training, only to terminate their contracts thereafter.

Foley halted play for several minutes while he was wrestled to the ground by four security guards, while Lea broke the stumps at Cathedral Road End before he too was subdued. Speaking after his ejection from Sophia Gardens, Foley, 43, said the protest had been planned the previous evening after Ryanair terminated the employment contract of his daughter.

The protest was slightly less eventful than that which occured during the Headingley Test of 1975, where vandals forced the abandonment of the third Ashes Test by digging up the pitch prior to the fifth day's play. On that occasion, the protesters were campaigning for the release of George Davis, a 34-year-old mini-cab driver who had been sentenced to a 20-year sentence for armed robbery.

Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo