South Africa captain Faf Du Plessis has labelled criticism of New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson as "unfair" on the eve of the third and final Test.
Williamson is under fire following New Zealand's eight-wicket defeat in the second Test, which has left them 1-0 behind in the series.
Williamson made scores of just two and one as the Black Caps were put to the sword by the Proteas in Wellington, however, Du Plessis leapt to the defence of his counterpart.
''I think it's unfair. I think he's done really well with the New Zealand team," Du Plessis said on Friday.
''He's a fantastic player. I've read a lot of times that he's the best number three in the world.
''It comes with not winning. It's part of our job as captain and sometimes it's not nice, sometimes you feel it's not deserved.
''The New Zealand team have done some really good things in the last while. The one-dayers were a huge win for us especially with their track record and for the Tests it's really important we win the series."
Williamson's task has not been made any easier on the back of injuries to pace bowling spearheads Tim Southee and Trent Boult.
But Williamson believes it is a great opportunity for debutant Scott Kuggeleijn.
"He's an exciting prospect, been playing very well for a number of years at domestic level," Williamson said.
''He's been one of the top performers with the ball in hand but has also scored a number of runs in that middle to lower order.
''We have a number of injuries so it's a great opportunity for him to come into the environment. There are a number of young guys in the team and they're really looking forward to the challenge of playing one of the best teams in world cricket.
"We want to go out show some fight, play a few shots, bowl in the right areas, be nice and aggressive and leave it all out on the field."