Root accused of creating "batsmen v bowlers divide" with bowling plan criticism

Former England bowler Steve Harmison has taken aim at Joe Root after he criticised his seamers for bowling too short in the second Ashes Test against Australia.

England suffered a heavy 275-run defeat in Adelaide and the lengths their seamers bowled with the new ball on day one became a huge talking point.

Both Steve Smith and David Warner accuse them of bowling too short and, speaking after England's defeat, captain Root publicly criticised them.

"With ball in hand, we didn't bowl the right lengths," he said. "We needed to bowl fuller. As soon as we did in the second innings, we created chances.

"That's frustrating. We did it four years ago and didn't learn from it. We have to be better.

"We talk about what length to bowl all the time. We look at the data, what's going to hit the stumps on each surface.

"It's well communicated. But it's not always as simple as that and people get caught up in the emotion of the game."

Harmison, who featured in three Ashes series during his international career, has criticised Root for his comments, claiming they could create a "Batsmen v Bowlers divide".

Speaking on talkSPORT, Harmison said: "The criticism of the bowlers from Joe’s point of view… I’d have been waiting for him at the top of the stairs if Vaughany had said that.

"If Vaughany had said that after what we had just done, I think me, Hoggard, Flintoff, Jones would have been standing at the top of the stairs and he wouldn’t have even got through the threshold of the door after what had happened because [while] they did bowl a fraction short, if you keep dropping catches – hands up, as a bowling unit [we] take the two on the chin that we overstepped, we made a mistake getting wickets with no-balls, that’s the cardinal sin.

"You’ve got size 12s, get something behind them. But to say that they bowled too short? They created 10 chances in eight and a half days of Ashes cricket that haven’t been taken.

"When comments are made like that, all of a sudden there’s a 'Batsmen v Bowlers' divide.

"The bowlers go, 'Well, the batsmen aren’t catching it, first and foremost, so we’re having to bring our lengths back because every time we pitch it up we either get driven for four or we potentially create a chance that isn’t getting taken.'

"But then you also look at it and go, 'Hold on, not only are you lot dropping catches, but on a flat one, you’ve gone 230 and 195. So you’re not doing your job properly.'"

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