Ponting taunts Strauss ahead of Ashes

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The Independent Online

Australia captain Ricky Ponting has urged his England counterpart Andrew Strauss not to forget to pack the Ashes when he flies out with his team on Friday.

Ponting and team-mate Michael Clarke had their images projected on to Big Ben together with a message reminding Strauss to take the Ashes with him, a reference to the confidence of the Australian team that they will be England in the forthcoming Test series which begins next month.

England fly out of London on Friday but the Ashes will not be with them as the urn remains on permanent display in the Marylebone Cricket Club Museum at Lord's.

Regardless of that tradition the Australians taunted their counterparts with the projection which also included the slogan: 'Don't forget to pack the urn - bringontheashes.com'

Ponting said: "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.

"Our message is clear - we're prepared and we're ready so bring on the Ashes!"

Clarke added: "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."