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England eat humble Australian pie

By AAP .
17 December 2013 08:55PM EST

ENGLAND arrived in Australia with a spring in their step, but will lob at the MCG for the Boxing Day Test with their tail between their legs.

Australia needed just three Tests to reclaim the Ashes.

Although a fighting century from Ben Stokes ensured for some nervy moments on the final day in Perth, England have been comprehensively outplayed with both bat and ball for the majority of the series.

England's fielding has also bordered on embarrassing at times.

Stokes is the only England batsman to have scored a century this series.

In a side boasting a glut of experienced players, it was left to a 22-year-old in his second Test to finally take the fight up to Australia.

England's bowling has been just as bad, with the exception of Stuart Broad.

Last year, England were the No.1 Test nation.

Currently, they're ranked third.

But on the evidence of this series, they're in danger of sliding down even further, with the fifth ranked Australians primed to over-take them.

Australia would be feeling bullet-proof right about now.

In the form of David Warner, Australia boasts one of the most explosive openers in world cricket. He is in the form of his life.

Mitchell Johnson is arguably the fastest bowler going around in Test ranks at the moment.

Ryan Harris exudes quality, while Peter Siddle has become the team's Mr Reliable.

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin keeps getting better with age, while skipper Michael Clarke continues to plunder mountains of runs.

Even Shane Watson rediscovered his magic touch in Perth, cracking a sparkling century that included a 22-run burst off one Graeme Swann over.

As good as the signs are for Australia, they're equally bad for England.

The challenge for Australia is to take their hot form on the road.

"A lot of the top teams are performing at home but are not having as much success as they'd like away from home," Clarke said.

"So that's a big goal for us."

But first, Australia will be aiming to deliver more body blows to England by completing a 5-0 series sweep.

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