Graeme Swann reflects on a fantastic performance from 'Mr Incredible', Ben Stokes, in the Second Test, the bowling attack for this week's decider and how sensible batting can help England can regain the Ashes next year...
"World cricket hasn’t had a true top-drawer all-rounder since Jacques Kallis - but now we've got Ben Stokes"
Ben Stokes is like the Ready Brek kid
Ben Stokes would be the first pick in any World XI right now. He is the best cricketer in the world, and even as a standalone batsman he's probably the best around at the moment too. Thank God he's English.
Being an all-rounder is hard work, especially as a seamer. Whenever the game is going on, he is a part of it in some way. He never gets to put his feet up and relax. That's why world cricket hasn't had a true top-drawer all-rounder since Jacques Kallis - as in a seamer, obviously we've had an off-spinner or two batting brilliantly at No 8 but they don't count.
There is a fine line in cricket between confidence and fatal complacency, but he is bang on the right side of that line. He's got an aura around him, a glow like the Ready Brek kid. Joe Root has got the easiest job in the world at the moment, he just turns to Ben - like in the second innings when they needed quick runs and even though Stokes must have been knackered, he went out and opened to set up the win. It's ridiculous what he can do.
Archer just made a mistake
Jofra Archer broke the rules, and you can't do that. With something as serious as this, they are really important. It's easy to think that a little detour won't harm anybody but you've got to think of the bigger picture. It's hard when you're a young lad; as a sportsman, you're a bit sheltered from the real world a lot of the time.
People shouldn't point the finger though and suggest he has done it with any malice - he's just made a mistake, and he's missed out on a brilliant Test win because of it.
Seam attack looks the business
Even without Archer, England had a nicely balanced attack, with so much variety in it. You had a left-armer in Sam Curran, Chris Woakes who is able to do the hard yards and Broady ended up being used as more of a strike bowler. As he always does, he rose to the challenge because he loves it. They should just tell Stuart Broad he's dropped every week and then pick him at the last minute; he would just fire through everybody.
I thought Sam Curran bowled really well. He does look a bit innocuous because he's got those cherubic looks, he's only 5ft 9in and he's not express pace but any left-arm seamer who can swing it in will be effective, and his seam position is so good that he almost always will. Not only does he provide a change of angle but as a batsman, he's always attacking your stumps.
He's got a knack of taking big wickets at important moments as well which is very, very important. Some people can bowl brilliantly all day and not get their rewards but he always seems to get wickets.
Go with best attack to win the series
All the seamers have played one Test now and England should pick their best attack to win the series in the decider. For me, that's Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and one of Jofra Archer or Mark Wood told to bowl as quick as they can for 10 overs a day.
Ideally, I'd actually like to see England pick another bowler because while it would give them a longer tail, the top six should be the ones scoring runs, and that would allow to get Curran into the team. It's hard to squeeze him in though and you'd end up dropping someone who probably doesn't deserve it. At least England have the luxury of choice between some quality options.
Consistent Bess looks set for long Test career
As an off-spinner like Dom Bess too, you're delighted to see a left-armer in the team because of the foot-holes they create. In the second innings, once there is wear and tear on the pitch, you've got that big crater outside off stump which creates so much doubt in a batsman's mind. One ball will jag and bounce and the next might go straight on or roll along the floor. It's the biggest weapon you can have. I used to love having Ryan Sidebottom in the Notts and England teams: what a foot-hole he used to make!
Because Dom Bess has grown up putting not that many revs on the ball, it will take time but he is definitely getting better at spinning the ball harder. It is difficult to rock up on the last day and win the game like everyone expects you to because you're the spinner, especially at Old Trafford where everyone talks about how much it turns. Actually, the pitch was still very good for the most part.
When Dom finishes his action off and gets through the crease, he gets a lovely little bit of drift away from the batsman, but when he doesn't, it drifts inwards a bit because he doesn't quite kick his back leg through. I was happy with how he bowled though because he doesn't bowl very many bad balls at all, which is important for your role as a spinner in the first innings.
The second innings attacking side of his game will come with more Test cricket - and he's only just turned 23, so he could have a decade of red-ball cricket for England ahead of him.
Sibley shows what it will take to regain Ashes
If England want to win in Australia, they've got to do it on the back of first-innings runs. When we won out there in 2010-11, it was all set up by Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Andrew Strauss scoring masses of runs.
Any time you go to Australia you do have to be aggressive and positive, taking the game to them, because they don't like it, but you can do that by batting long - it doesn't have to be an ultra-aggressive approach with the bat. I'd still like to see them posting scores of 550, 600, but if they can grind out big first-innings scores, that will stand them in good stead.
Someone like Dom Sibley might not be easy on the eye, but you need someone like him in the team. Joe will always want to score at a run a ball, and Stokes generally quicker, but you need someone at the top who can weather the storm early on and knacker some fast bowlers out. As a middle-order or lower-order batsman, life is a lot easier against a tired attack. That's what our top three did 10 years ago and that's what Sibley does.
He's not a Virat Kohli to watch but as a bowler, you desperately want someone like that in your team who isn't bothered about scoring quickly and is putting his life on the line to hang on to his wicket.