Rejuvenated Oz team's message for England before Ashes

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Melbourne, Jan 14 (ANI): Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has asked his rejuvenated team to send an emphatic statement to England as they prepare for one of the most competitive Ashes series on home soil.

With just five Tests remaining until the revenge Ashes battle next summer, Ponting is excited about the fresh self-belief flooding though his Australian side.

Ponting believes that archrivals England is building doggedly after showing great fighting spirit in their tough Test series against South Africa.

England hold a 1-0 lead after three Tests of the four-Test series, and have twice clung on to escape with tense draws when they were nine wickets down.

Ponting said: "We are trying to make as many statements as we can as a group. The statements we've made over the past few weeks have been pretty loud and pretty clear. We will just keep looking forward to that Ashes series. We are talking about it this morning, that's a good sign."

"There's a lot of excitement around for the players already. England have managed to hang on for tight draws ... they are playing some good cricket. Their bowling attack has come together really well.

"Jimmy Anderson and Graham Onions and Graeme Swann have done a great job for them of late and Paul Collingwood has held their batting together," he said.

"I must admit I thought South Africa might have been a bit too strong for them over there," Ponting added.

After Australia's remarkable comeback win in Sydney against Pakistan last week, Ponting insists there is new belief in his side that they can win from almost any position.

"There is a lot more self-belief around the side now than there probably was at the start of this summer. It is probably one thing we've lacked a little bit in the last couple of years," he said. (ANI)

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