"I don't like it when there is blood shed," the England paceman said. "My intention was to put the batsmen on their back foot. I don't go out to hurt people. Unfortunately, a couple of players got hit on the head ... it is unfortunate, but it's the game."
Harmison's first five-wicket haul in a Test match at Lord's - 5 for 43 - was overshadowed by Glenn McGrath's stunning reply as the Australian paceman passed 500 Test wickets with 5 for 21.
Harmison said: "It is the first time I've got five wickets at Lord's and it is more special getting it against Australia." Of McGrath's achievement, the England fast bowler said: "To get 500 Test wickets is a phenomenal achievement. I don't think Glenn McGrath has to prove any points. I'll be very happy if my Test career ends with 110 Tests and 500 wickets. He has proved that if you put the ball in the right areas, you will get wickets no matter what surfaces you play on and he did that today."
McGrath had foolishly been written off. Yesterday, the great Australian fast bowler chose Lord's as the setting to make those poor judges of his abilities eat their words.
He single-handedly silenced a nation of cricket-lovers with a devastating spell of five wickets for two runs in 31 balls to reduce England to a shambolic state by the close, and cast a blight over the home side's morning glories, when they had Australia reeling and eventually bowled them out for modest 190.
Harmison recorded his sixth five-wicket haul during that innings, but McGrath, with his third significant haul at Headquarters, stole the Durham man's thunder.
With his first wicket, that of opener Marcus Trescothick, McGrath became the fourth bowler to pass 500 Test wickets and the second Australian to do so after his leg-spinning team-mate Shane Warne. McGrath, 35, made it clear he intends using this series to leapfrog the West Indies' Courtney Walsh, who has 519 wickets, and become fast bowling's highest wicket taker. McGrath said last night: "I would like to think that with four and a half Tests to go and 504 wickets under my belt, I will be able to overtake Courtney Walsh during this series."
The Australian fast bowler, sporting a specially made pair of boots acknowledging in gold lettering his 500 wickets, admitted he had read reports writing him off as over the hill. "I had a bit of a laugh, but I am feeling younger than I ever have," he said.
For his fellow paceman Harmison, the turn of events was more of a downer. "I was pleased with the way I bowled," he said, "but I was pretty disappointed with the way the second half of the day went."Reuse content