The assault
Many readers are by now no doubt aware of Ben Stokes' actions in Bristol on September 24 - which have gained coverage on these pages, as well as in many England dailies, and of which a video has been disseminated. While it certainly seems the case that Stokes did not venture the first hit, he did nevertheless take repeated swings, land several remorseless blows, and generally behave in an extremely aggressive manner. All in all, it was a very good 73 off 63 balls, and helped get the team to 369 for 9.

Retrospective one-line review of Stokes' award-winning 258 off 198 balls in Cape Town, 2016:

"He hit the ball like it made a homophobic slur."

The (possible) passive aggression
Graham Ford, who cut his ties with Sri Lanka in June, took up a new position with Ireland. While accepting the job, however, Ford seemed to be throwing serious shade at SLC, stating in particular, that "I have always enjoyed working with decent people." This is clearly completely unnecessary snark from a disgruntled former employee of the Sri Lankan board. Administrators in the SLC set-up do not fail to be "decent people" merely because they suddenly appointed a boss to watch over Ford's every move, systematically undermined his authority, repeatedly interfered in team matters, and constantly jeopardised the health of cricket through chronic self-intere… yeah okay, he's got a point.

The King's compliments
Kumar Sangakkara wound down his first-class career this month, and having played his last home match for Surrey, took a few moments to heap lavish praise on the county system, and the cricketers who play in it. He is ever the charmer, of course, but Sangakkara's comments do seem a little strange, given he has spent the last six months brutalising the attacks of the county teams he has now so enthusiastically lauded. The Briefing has taken the liberty of amending Sangakkara's quotes to reflect the 1491 table-topping runs he has scored, at an average of 106.50 and a strike rate of 68.3, this season:

"The county professional is a very, very special breed of player, whom I have extravagantly thrashed all over grounds the length and breadth of England, over the past six months," Sangakkara said. "I have found a whole new respect for county cricket, which I have casually dominated despite juggling commentary commitments, and taking several weeks off to go and play T20 cricket at the CPL.

"I have come to understand that wherever there is first-class cricket, there are bowlers who will continue to play with pride even though I've just shamed them repeatedly through the covers, or come down the track to chasten them over the leg side, and that is testament to the greatness of the game. I thank Surrey for the opportunity to rediscover what an amazing breeding ground first-class cricket is for players who are nowhere near as good as me."

The sabbatical
It was only three or four years ago that Bangladesh were forced to contend with month upon empty month in their international calendar because no side wanted to play them. Now Shakib Al Hasan has asked that he not be considered for Test cricket for six months, and has not travelled with the team for the ongoing Tests in South Africa. What greater testament to Bangladesh's rapid progress than this extreme case of player fatigue? With luck, in future years, Bangladesh will know the joy of lengthy contracts crises, trim the Test schedule to accommodate franchise tournaments, and have the board openly suggest its players are pampered prima donnas, while everyone in the system treats fans with disdain.

The anti-deception law
Several new rules came into force towards the end of the month. Batsmen are now deemed to have made their ground even if their bats bounce after being initially grounded in the crease, while the bats themselves cannot have edges exceeding 40 millimetres, and cannot be more than 67 millimetres thick at any point.

Another new rule has to do with fielders no longer being allowed to deliberately distract or deceive batsmen. This means actions such as Sangakkara's fake collection to prompt a dive from the batsman will now be considered unfair play. This is perhaps the most contentious of the changes, because why would anyone want to legislate against making fun of Ahmed Shehzad?

The big show
We are still eight weeks out from the start of the series, but the Ashes hype train hit cricket hard last month. Journalists have drawn predictably tribal lines. The Australian press, for example, has largely been scathing of Stokes' behaviour, some labelling it a "sickening act of violence", while suggesting the ECB has been "embarrassingly soft" on the issue so far. Some English media personalities, meanwhile, have ventured arguments in Stokes' defence: Who among us has not taken over a dozen full-blooded swings in a street fight in order to knock out a guy who was barely retaliating by that stage, all in defence of two men who apparently suffered homophobic abuse, then immediately disappeared off the face of the planet?

In any case, it is already time to steel ourselves for the coming Ashes media avalanche, which is sure to feature tabloid headlines with exclamation marks, guffaw fests about former players' waistlines, Glenn McGrath prediction sensations, Shane Warne-Kevin Pietersen mutual bum-pat fiestas, and Piers Morgan frothings, among other delights.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando