A leading British bookmaker is so certain that Australia will win the Ashes that it has made Steve Waugh's men 1,000-1 on to take the series.
"It's the shortest odds we've ever offered, apart from tomorrow being Thursday and even that's less certain," Graham Sharpe, a spokesman for bookmakers William Hill told reporters on Wednesday.
Australia, who have beaten England in the opening two Tests with more than a day to spare, need only to win the third match starting at Perth today to secure an unassailable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
Sharpe added that the Australia odds far exceeded the previous shortest Hill's had offered on a major sporting contest. "A couple of years ago we made England 150-1 on to beat Italy in the Six Nations rugby union but this is something different."
However, Sharpe did have encouraging news for besieged England captain Nasser Hussain as he tried to prevent Australia winning their eighth successive Ashes series.
Hills have shortened their odds for England to win the third Test match from 18-1 to 12-1 after taking a string of bets on the tourists.
Surprisingly, the largest of them was one of ?222 from a South African internet client.
"Smaller money punters are not interested in the Aussies so we've seen plenty of takers for England at the long odds on offer" Sharpe added.
"But it is ironic that the heftiest support for them is coming from outside of England itself."
Hills have Australia 5-4 on to win the series 5-0 even though a clean sweep in a full series has only been achieved once before in the 125-year history of Anglo-Australian cricket contests -- by Australia in 1920-21.
Australia are placed at a more enticing 15-8 to win the series 4-0 with a price of 50-1 on offer for Australia to still be 2-0 up come the end of the fifth Test.
Meanwhile Hills have a drawn series at 150-1. But were that to happen it would still be some way short of the most celebrated long-odds pay-out on a cricket match.
Ladbrokes, one of Hills major British rivals, once made England 500-1 to win during the 1981 Headingley Test against Australia, the odds set by former England wicket-keeper Godfrey Evans.
But that was before Ian Botham's blistering 149 and fast bowler Bob Willis guided England to one of the most unlikely victories in Test history.
Two of the Australians playing in that match, Dennis Lillee and Rodney Marsh (now England's academy director) could not resist the price and backed the home side.
But Sharpe is confident the present series will not see a repeat of such English heroics, or indeed Australian betting practices even though Hussain's men are 300-1 to win the series.
"I can't really see Messrs Waugh and Warne having a few quid on England. Australia have made it clear they want to win the series 5-0," Sharpe said.