Retiring Australia captain Michael Clarke Thursday said the fifth and final Ashes Test against England could be over in three days, and admitted the odds were stacked against his team.
Clarke, who will bow out after the dead rubber, said The Oval pitch was exceptionally green, a situation that has caused major headaches for his batsmen during the series.
"The pitch The Oval has prepared for the fifth Test is the greenest I`ve seen this entire series, and I believe there`s every chance we could see a third consecutive match finish inside three days," he said in a column for the Sydney Daily Telegraph.
"However, this time, it simply has to be us that finishes on the right side of the scoreboard.
"The boys know we are good enough to aim up in these conditions, but to win it`s going to take grit and dogged resilience, particularly from us as batsmen -- characteristics we just weren`t able to find at Cardiff, Edgbaston and Trent Bridge."
England, 3-1 up in the five-match contest, have already regained the Ashes following crushing victories by eight wickets at Edgbaston and an innings and 78 runs at Trent Bridge where Australia failed to adjust to the seaming pitches.
They face a similar surface at The Oval starting Thursday, where Australia`s top order must somehow put the nightmare of their first innings 60 all out in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge behind them.
"Our batting has been so poor in the first innings of the past two Tests; we haven`t given ourselves a chance and once again we have to be prepared for the fact that surviving out there is going to be really difficult," said Clarke.
"Technique and decision-making is obviously important, but it`s all about character in my opinion. We need to fight as hard as we possibly can and it`s our responsibility as Australian Test cricketers to do so."
For Clarke, his 115th Test will be his last before the 34-year-old prolific batsman retires from international duty.
While admitting there will be no fairytale ending to his career, he vowed to go out fighting.
"Of course I was hoping, as we all were, to go home with the Ashes," he said.
"But for me playing for Australia has always meant fighting to the end, even in the tough times. And with the odds stacked against us, that`s what we have the opportunity to do at The Oval."