Zaheer Khan defends himself from throat ball. (Getty Images)
Adelaide: It is called the 'throat ball' or the 'perfume ball' and the Australian pacers are using it with intimidating regularity against Indian tailenders in the ongoing Test series.
Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma have every right to seek "accident cover" given how Peter Siddle and Co. have targetted them with the "throat ball."
It's a delivery, which is aimed at batsmen's body rather than at their bat or stumps. It is as if tired by patience and discipline shown against the Indian top order, the home fast bowlers unleash all their fury on the visiting unit's tailenders.
The encircling of these pacers begins as soon as India loses its sixth wicket and suddenly everyone would like the red cherry in his hand -- never mind new or old.
So it was Ben Hilfenhaus who took only five deliveries with the 62-over-old ball to send back Vinay Kumar, Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma at WACA, Perth last week.
Virat Kohli had such a mental fade that he refused even a couple to Umesh Yadav off the last ball in order to protect him from pace at the other end forgetting that a brace anyway would have kept the number 11 bat at the non-striker's end.
James Pattinson was so aggressive against Zaheer in Melbourne that he was given an official warning for intimidatory bowling after he had sent down four successive bouncers in a row.
This tactic initially wasn't so visible but after R Ashwin hung around for 31 runs in Melbourne and only showed discomfiture against "perfume ball" that Aussie fast bowlers sensed it was the way to go against the tourists.
Zaheer now regularly backs away to square leg, pulling his front foot out of the way of the delivery and swings his bat as a desperate measure.
Ishant, even with his height, is hopping at such searing stuff and was twice consumed in this manner in the third Test at WACA. Yadav hopes for the sight of a spinner.
In the first innings in Melbourne, India lost four of their final five wickets for 21 runs in less than 10 overs. In the second innings, with match all but over and spinner Nathan Lyon operating from one end, India's last four wickets could still add only 52 runs.
In the first innings in Sydney, India's last four wickets went for a mere 13 runs. In the second dig with match all but lost while following on and a score of 286 for 7 on the board, the last three wickets could actually add 114 runs.
But it wasn't fooling anyone as spinner Nathan Lyon bowled most of his 20 overs at them.
With Lyon not in the home ranks, India's tail had nowhere to run at WACA. On the first day, India lost its final four wickets for nine runs in a space of 25 balls.
The second innings was worse -- India handed over their final four scalps for no run in just seven balls.
Pattinson echoes the sentiment of his fellow fast bowlers when he says, "If you bowl a good enough short ball, I think most tailenders are pretty suspect. To be honest, I don't like the short ball at my head."
The predecessor of Australia's pace attack, Brett Lee actually urges them to drop the gloves and go all-out at Indian tailenders.
"It's controlled aggression and as a fast bowler, you have to be in the batsman's face."
The batting figures of India's tail reflect the capitulation in ample measure. Umesh Yadav has 27, Ishant Sharma 31 and Zaheer Khan 54 runs from the six innings of the entire series so far.