Trevor Bayliss has called on England's batsmen to "put their hand up and be the hero" on the final day of the Manchester Test.
England go into the fifth day requiring a miracle - another miracle - to sustain their hopes of winning back the Ashes. Set an improbable 383 to win in the final innings - their more realistic target is to bat out the final 98 overs on the last day - they lost two wickets within the first four balls of their reply.
While they scraped through to stumps without further loss, the fact that Joe Root and Rory Burns were the men to go will do nothing to increase optimism in England's chances of survival. Root, who was bowled first ball by a perfect delivery from Pat Cummins, has become the first England captain to register three ducks in a series. If Australia win the game, they will take retain the Ashes whatever happens in the final Test at The Oval.
But Bayliss, the England coach, insisted his team could bat out the final day to claim the draw that would sustain their hopes.
"It'll take a couple of our guys to make good hundreds but as we saw in the last Test, anything is possible," Bayliss sad. "It's a big challenge, but we've got two guys out there who are very good players. We've certainly got some players in the sheds who can make hundreds.
"I think we can do it. We've had a chat in the changing room and we're certainly not thinking it's all over. There's no use playing at this level if you don't believe you are good enough to bat for 98 overs and save the game."
While Bayliss could, realistically, hardly say anything else, England's slim hopes have some substance while Ben Stokes remains. He has already pulled off two near miracles this summer - the World Cup final and the Leeds Test - and is England's leading run-scorer in the series. England's supporters will hope he can snare a hat-trick of miracles on the final day.
The form of the other remaining batsmen provides less reason for optimism, however. Jason Roy is averaging 12.42 this series, Joe Denly 23.00, Jos Buttler 13.71 and Jonny Bairstow 25.50. But Bayliss hopes Stokes' success can inspire them with greater belief.
"Stokes' record probably gives the rest of the guys belief," Bayliss said. "If one guy can do it someone else can do it as well. We've already spoken about who is going to put their hand up and be the hero. We know it is going to be hard work, but we're going out there with the aim to do that."
While Bayliss leaves his role as coach straight after The Oval Test, he does have advice for English cricket: ensure home advantage by preparing pitches that suit their side. England were underwhelmed when they arrived in Manchester to find a slow track with very little grass covering. As a result, there was relatively little help for England seamers - who are, with the exception of Jofra Archer - slower than the Australian trio - and they could find no answer to the excellence of Steve Smith. He also had words of mitigation for England's seamers, who struggled in trying conditions on the first day.
"I'd have liked to have seen a bit more green grass on all of the [Test] wickets this year," Bayliss said. "We certainly had that in the Ashes here four years ago - except for the one where Australia won at Lord's. And we won the series.
"What's got to happen in England is that we either play on Test wickets that have some green grass on, like in county cricket, or we play county cricket on flatter wickets with not a lot of grass on so we actually learn how to bat and bowl on flatter wickets.
"Why did England's bowlers not manage the same intensity in the first innings? It was probably the 300mph wind and the minus 10 degree temperature. They were probably the toughest conditions I've ever seen cricket played in. That will take a fair bit out of you, those conditions. The wind was very, very difficult."