The Ashes fever has certainly picked up down under. Deniss Lillee, Bobby Simpson and others have criticized the lack of youth (or rather the presence of too many 30+ aged players) in the Aussie side. Richie Benaud meanwhile has gone on record that Ponting is the best Aussie captain ahead of the likes of Mark Taylor and Waugh. England meanwhile is struggling and have already lost Trescothick. The Aussie selectors has brought in Tait, Stuart Clarke and Mitchell Johnson to back Brett Lee ands McGrath. Along with Shane Warne, this seems like a more than formidable bowling attack.
On paper the Aussies appear way too strong. It remains to be seen how things turn out on the field. My guess is that England will do a lot better than anticipated.