SIX FEET URNDER; THE ASHES: COUNTDOWN TO THE THIRD TEST Aussies Gloating as England Head for the 'Burial Ground'

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Byline: OLIVER HOLT in perth, australia

THE Australian cricket team sauntered through Adelaide Airport yesterday feted by all.

Mitchell Johnson posed for pictures with members of England's Barmy Army and Ryan Harris chatted happily with the fans.

Aussie coach Darren Lehmann, looking slightly bleary-eyed from the night before, joked around with Shane Watson.

On the Boeing 767 that brought them here to Perth, Johnson, the man of the hour, sat in seat 1A.

Lehmann, true to his image as a down-to-earth man of the people, dozed in economy while his players sat in business class.

If they bothered to read any of the Australian newspapers on board they would have learned they had already won the Ashes.

The prevailing view here is that England have no chance of avoiding defeat at the WACA in the third Test which begins here on Friday.

The Sydney Morning Herald illustrated that sentiment by devoting its back page to a picture of a gravestone dug into the wicket in Perth.

The headline said: "Burial Ground" and predicted English cricket would be dead by the time the Perth Test finishes next Tuesday.

It was a familiar theme with the tourists being mocked in Australia as limp and weak way beyond their hosts' wildest expectations.

In the Herald Andrew Webster wrote: "What astonishes most about this Ashes series is how meekly England are prepared to hand back the Urn."

Some of the confidence that they can finish the job in Perth stems from England's abject performances in Brisbane and Adelaide so far.

But much of it, inevitably, is focused on Johnson. The WACA is his home turf and the wicket, green and bouncy, should make him even hotter to handle than he has been so far.

He is being talked about in such awed tones here that you could be forgiven for thinking England will be facing a fire-breathing dragon at the WACA.

He has taken 17 wickets in this series so far at an average of 12.7, claiming successive man-of-thematch awards in Brisbane and Adelaide as Australia rushed into a 2-0 series lead.

Australian bowling coach Craig McDermott said: I'd like to see - at his home ground, being in front of his adopted state, Western Australia - what the adrenalin does to his pace. …