"I think and visualize before I play where people are likely to bowl to me and where I am likely to score and try to picture fields" - Simith Getty

After the first Test, Australia's head coach Justin Langer had said that Steve Smith is the 'best problem solver in the game. Skipper Tim Paine soon supported the view. And it's no surprise by the fourth Test of the ongoing Ashes series that he is not only solving some issues for Australia but also plaguing the opposition with a few.

It was no different on the first two days of the Old Trafford Test, when he bailed Australia out after they had lost their openers in the first half an hour of play, and helped them reach 497 for 8 in the first innings. Even before Mitchell Starc maximised his long handle play, he crafted a couple of century stands - in the company of Marnus Labushchagne and Tim Paine - to help Australia take a dominating position in the rain-hit match.

The one-year hiatus hasn't made much of a difference to his robot-like stay at the crease in Test cricket, as he followed up his twin tons and a fifty with a double century on Thursday (September 5). Explaining the process, he pin-pointed on the need to adapt in order to solve the problems that Langer was referring to.

"I think and visualize before I play where people are likely to bowl to me and where I am likely to score and try to picture fields that are set and play things over in my mind, where I am going to get runs and how they are looking to get me out," he said at the end of the second day's play. "Then out in the middle, you have to adapt to whatever is thrown at you. I changed my guard, or the way I face up, not my guard, I keep my guard the same, but the way I move across, or where I move to depending on what they are trying to do.

"You might have noticed when Overton was bowling really wide to me and I was just going a mile across and staying almost front on and felt like I was playing a bit of French cricket for a bit, just covering my stumps. If they got straight I was going to score, if not I was waiting on a half volley or a short one to put away, and just tried to stay patient. That's one example but I think if you look at the best players around the world they sum up what people are trying to do and adapt to it and are willing to change and have the confidence to change what they are doing to get the right outcome."

It was also the first time Smith wore a stem guard helmet for an international match. This came as a result of a concussion he had in the second Test after getting by a Jofra Archer bouncer. Speaking of his experience with it, he said, "I guess I got used to it pretty quick. I never really gave it a chance in the nets. I'd wear it for 10 balls and if I got out or something I'd say, 'nah this isn't working' and get rid of it. For me, it was just giving it a chance and wearing it for a while and you get used to it.

"I walked in and I told the doc - I'm pretty superstitious with different things - I said the stem guards are good to stay now and my arm guard's probably good to stay as well that I wore this game. I got a bit of a laugh from the boys out of that because they know how strange I am."

There were moments on the field where England fluffed in the first innings, including giving life to Smith when he was batting on 118. Jack Leach had managed to induce the outside edge of his bat and Ben Stokes had taken the catch cleanly at slip, only for the umpire to notice the spinner overstepping.

"I thought I was out so I was a bit angry with the shot that I played," he said of his reaction after edging the ball. "It spun and bounced a little bit but wasn't overly happy with the shot I played to get out and when I saw the foot over the line and Kumar (Dharmasena) called me back it was 'how good's this, I get to stay out here and keep batting'. Obviously some luck and then made the most of it from there"

"Obviously I had some luck, I think you always need some luck when you score big runs. It fell my way today. I lost a bit of concentration for around 20 minutes or so when Leach was bowling. I tried to hit one into next week and landed safely and obviously got a nick from a ball that spun and bounced a little bit, but probably didn't need to play it the way I did. I was losing my concentration a bit, I was in a bit of a hurry for I reckon 20 minutes and after I got caught off the no-ball I switched myself back on and got back in to where I needed to be."

At that point, Australia could have been reduced to 273 for 6, and only Paine left to bat with the tailenders. However, the life given to Smith allowed him to stitch a century-stand with the skipper and put England on the mat.