One of my best days of the summer was spent at Lord's on the Saturday when Joe Root showed the world exactly how good he can be.
It began at a crawl, with England 31-3 overnight and the Aussies thinking they had a way back into a match and a series they had messed up. He and Tim Bresnan took a painful 160 balls to score 50 between them. But it ended at a gallop as Root smashed the ball to all parts to end the day with 178 against his name and the Ashes as good as over as a contest.
Afterwards he was full of fun in the press conference, telling us how his brother Billy who was on 12th man duties had been nagging him about slow scoring every time he brought a drink out. That turned out not to be true. Billy told later how his big brother had returned to the dressing room after dealing with the media full of giggles telling him: "I've hung you out to dry".
The whole day was the performance of a young man who was totally at ease on the big stage - and it clearly resonated with Andy Flower. Three months later Root is the new name among the elite of England cricketers who have just been handed lucrative new central contracts.
He'll be one of 11 players boarding the plane for Australia tonight with a pay deal that - complete with bonuses and appearance money for competing in every form of the game - could raise salaries to nearly £1million a year.
Getting the new pay deal sorted out is good news ahead of the tour. It means England can settle into the preparation stage with another set of worries taken away and the chance to focus totally on the job in hand.
Put Root's name together with the other ten who have signed the new contracts - Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Bresnan, Prior, Broad, Finn, Swann and Anderson - and you've got a powerful line-up for the first Test at The Gabba on November 21. It's a side that is settled, experienced, hasn't lost a Test in 2013, and has a stubborn mentality to do what's required to win.
Alastair Cook's side are 2.56/4 to launch the series by winning in Brisbane, and at first glance that doesn't look too generous. After all the Aussies have not lost a Test match there since the West Indies turned them over in 1988, and it was two years earlier that England last won.
But this team is far more suited to the ground than any previous side. The height of bowlers like Bresnan, Finn, Broad and Anderson is totally suited to the bouncy conditions, while the likes of Root, Pietersen and Bell are all far more comfortable with the ball coming on to the bat.
England are 2.166/5 to achieve a historic fourth successive Ashes series win. Their players were having lunch together at Lord's today before setting off for Heathrow. Hopefully Root will be inspired by the memories of that sunny Sunday.