My colleague Simon Barnes is right to devote his piece in the Times today (paywalled, sorry, but there's more than a quid's worth of good stuff on the website today) to Alastair Cook's marvellous start to the Ashes series.
Having arrived in Australia with people questioning his place in the team, Cook made a decent enough start in Brisbane with 67. He followed it with 235 not out in the second innings and is now 136 not out after a day's batting in Adelaide.
It has been 674 balls and pushing 1,000 minutes since an Australian last took his wicket and near the end of today's play he passed Len Hutton's record of 364 runs without being dismissed in an Ashes Test. If he carries on where he left off tomorrow, England can build a total that should be match-winning with three days left in the Test and mean that Australia need to win two of the last three Tests to regain the Ashes.
It is sublime form and even if he makes a duck in every innings he plays for the rest of the series, he will still leave Australia with an average from ten innings of at least 43 and probably, with even modest success, 60 or 70. But let us not get carried away just yet. As England saved the first Test by making a big second innings score, so Australia could bat their way to a draw in Adelaide.
Simon is wrong, though, to say that "it is a long, long time since an England batsman has been in such form in Australia". It was only eight years ago that Michael Vaughan made three hundreds in five Tests and ended the series with 633 runs, the best by England since 1970 and only 25 runs short of being the best since Wally Hammond in 1928-29.
England lost the first four matches in Vaughan's series heavily and the Ashes were surrendered in 11 days. The key to success is more than one batsman over-performing. You need several (hence Trott's support of Cook in both Tests has been crucial, as was Strauss's in Brisbane and Pietersen's today) and a strong bowling attack.
Ultimately, if England are to win the Ashes Down Under for the first time in 24 years, Cook's runs will play only a part. It is the wickets that the England bowlers take that are more important.