Countdown to the Ashes

England, captained by Essex star Alastair Cook, are putting the finishing touches to their preparations for the defence of the Ashes which start in Australia early tomorrow morning.

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Cook ready to lead England Ashes defence

Alastair Cook takes some water on board alongside Graeme Swann during a recent nets session. Credit: PA

The wait is almost over for the start of the Ashes series in Australia.

England will be hoping to retain the urn under the captaincy of Essex star Alastair Cook.

The first days's play gets underway overnight in Brisbane.

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