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Aussies in Big Ben Ashes wind-up

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Big Ben

Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting serve England with a timely reminder of the challenge that lies in store for them in Australia

Australia have raised the stakes in the Ashes propaganda war by issuing a cheeky challenge to England - via Big Ben.

An image of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke was projected on to one of London’s most famous landmarks, emblazoned above the phrase ‘Don’t forget to pack the urn’.

England fly out to Australia tomorrow to begin their defence of the Ashes, having beaten Ponting’s side on English soil last summer.

“Winning the urn back from our age-old rival is the most prized achievement for Australians and we just wanted to send them a reminder not to leave the urn behind,” said captain Ponting.

“Our message is clear: we’re prepared and we’re ready so bring on the Ashes!”

Clarke, Ponting’s vice-captain, said: “The Ashes is the ultimate cricket battle between our nations and this year will be no exception.

“The team will have to dig deep and deliver. We have some new faces in the squad this series who didn’t play in England last time, so they’re fresh and excited to be part of their first Ashes tour.”

Kevin Pietersen, who will be among the 16 England players flying out to Perth, made light of Australia’s tactics.

“It’s all part of the Ashes build-up,” he said. “It’s more of a media thing than anything else. There’s sledging off the field but there won’t be much on it. It just doesn’t happen.”

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