AS THE final Test of the summer is ongoing, it brings the Ashes into focus this winter.

If the Aussies have a full pace attack, it will be a tough series, but if they get a couple of injuries, it should be very close.

I do think they have the bowling attack to put them as favourites at present.

In their own conditions, having Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and Josh Hazlewood – he just knocks away at a good length at good pace as well – could be a potent combination.

Having said that, their fast bowlers do get injured quite a bit, which could play into our hands.

England are going to need to take a bit of pace with them.

We have a lot of skill with Stuart Broad and James Anderson and Chris Woakes, who has that extra yard.

I think Mark Wood being left out of the one-day and T20 international squad for the West Indies series could be telling. I would have thought that would be in order for him to get some Championship cricket under his belt with Durham.

It also looks like Mason Crane is going to be their second spin option.

The batting places are obviously the most uncertain in the squad at present and I can't look beyond taking Gary Ballance. I think he will go and I would even bat him at number five.

From what I've seen of him this year, in particular, he has been out of this world. The double hundred in the second innings against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl will stand out in my mind for a long time.

The way he batted in the first innings was top drawer but the second was remarkable to save that game for us.

He left the ball brilliantly against a good attack with international experience in Kyle Abbott.

They are probably one of the three best attacks in the division in my view, alongside us and Middlesex.

Gary's temperament at five is ideal. I'm not saying he can't bat at three but he's pretty much always batted below that for Yorkshire.

Batting him at five would be brilliant, just before that extra impetus from Stokes and Bairstow and people like that.

If Gaz can bat a long time, it makes it so much easier for them against a tiring attack. They could be even more brutal than they are at the minute.

I would say Joe Root has to bat at three – and I'm even taking Alex Hales and batting him at four. He's a proper player, as he's shown this summer.

Especially in Australia with their pitches, it suits him. He has that real grit and fire in his belly too.

It's been a pretty good summer for England in Test cricket.

The South Africa series was positive, even though they didn't get it right in one game. But you get that.

The way that Rooty will want them to play is a bit like that, where they will win a lot more games and risk losing the odd one – as you saw at Headingley last week.

That's just the way he is. He will want to play positive cricket.

I'll be shocked if the West Indies get close to England at Lord's this week. England were caught out a bit at Headingley and I'm sure the lads will be desperate to put things right.

Although I haven't played much competitive cricket in recent weeks for Yorkshire, I feel like I've bowled really well in the intra-squad games we've had and for the Academy at the weekend.

I played in a great game for the Academy in the league on Saturday against Stamford Bridge.

It was an important game for us but we ended up losing unfortunately. Still, it was a great standard. I reckon it was up there with second-team standard.

I got the full allocation of 13 overs in, returning 2-39, and also got out for 50 in the last over. I was bowling at Will Rhodes and Ryan Gibson.

I'm fairly confident I impressed at training last week too and hopefully I'll get a game or two in in the first team before the end of the season.