A Lord’s Test is a special occasion. There is nothing like it. On day one it will have extra special resonance because it will be exactly a month since we were here winning the World Cup final. Can that be an inspiration for an Ashes victory? Of course it can.
Different format, different opponents as well obviously, but it only feels like five minutes since we were here winning the World Cup and those memories can only help.
Jofra Archer was a big part of that. He is fit and firing. We know what he brings to this team. It will be a case of him posing a different challenge for Australia. Facing him in the nets has been tricky. His bouncer is hard to pick. He is also a very skilful bowler with a red ball.
I think people are wrong to just look at him as a bang-it-in-fast bowler. In the nets he is always working on his wrist position because he is still learning his craft. That is why as a batter in the nets you are not sure what is coming next. It would be wrong to underestimate his skill with the red ball.
I decided to take a little bit of a break last week after Edgbaston. You need to rest mentally and physically along the way in a summer like this. If you constantly hit balls in the nets your mind will be frazzled. Rest is an important part of training and it was a case of taking a step back from things, and confine training to the gym, because hitting balls was not something I wanted to do.
There has been so much cricket this summer. We have played two Tests and 17 ODIs and it is inevitable people will feel tired. That goes for those Australians who played in the World Cup, too. Naturally there will be fatigue knocking around, but that is the scheduling we have been given. We just crack on now and look forward to two back-to-back Test matches here and at Headingley, which are two big opportunities for us. By having a break, the aim was to come back refreshed and excited about this Test match and it has worked. I had a very long session with Bruce French, the wicketkeeping coach, and I have been really pleased with how I am keeping wicket.
Before the Ireland Test I had had very little match practice keeping, so I have had to get back into it quickly and I feel I have slotted back in behind the stumps really well.
Going back to seven in the order is something I am relishing. I have only played one Test as a keeper and batting back at seven, so it will take a little bit of time to settle back into that position. I have moved around a bit for various reasons over the past year, but I feel I have a settled place now and that will help. I scored a Test hundred five matches ago in Colombo and hit two hundreds in the World Cup, so the confidence is high. I have scored three hundreds and a 99 batting at seven in my Test career and settling back into my role keeping, and batting at seven, is my focus now. I think it is my best position in this side at the moment. With Jos Buttler at five, Ben Stokes at six and Chris Woakes at eight it feels like a really strong combination.
My batting feels fine. I am still working hard but inevitably it takes a little bit of time to get used to facing a red ball again. We have not been able to go back to county cricket and work on it. We have had to work it out in the middle during Test matches.
That is the way it is. In an ideal world we would have gone back and played a championship match but that is not the way it is these days and we know that. We prepare for that and accept it as England players. Our job is to cope with those challenges and not use them as an excuse.
I have played only one Ashes Test at Lord’s, in 2013, so it is an experience to savour. They come along rarely, and you have to make the most of it.
I have the same place in the changing room, down towards the back next to where Andrew Strauss used to sit. When you go out to bat you walk out of the dressing room door, turn right and go down the stairs. The members are flanking you on both sides as you go down and walk into the Long Room. The cheers go up, as the members see you emerge from the bottom of the stairs.
You then walk past the portraits on the walls, turn right and go through the double doors that have been opened for you by a steward ready for your arrival. It is then a short skip down the stairs, through the little gate and out in to the middle. It is an incredible experience, especially for an Ashes Test. I cannot wait.