New Zealand's hopes of saving the series against South Africa have suffered a massive blow with paceman Tim Southee ruled out of the third and final test in Hamilton with a hamstring injury.
The 28-year-old pace spearhead suffered a grade one tear of his left hamstring during the second test defeat in Wellington.
"He felt discomfort following the second test in Wellington and as a precautionary measure was sent for a scan," read a statement.
"While only a minor tear, he will not be fit for the upcoming match beginning Saturday."
Kane Williamson's side are still sweating on the fitness of left arm seamer Trent Boult, who missed the eight-wicket loss at the Basin Reserve with pain in his hip/groin area.
Wicketkeeper BJ Watling told reporters on Wednesday that Boult was still not 100 percent and would be monitored by medical staff ahead of the match at Seddon Park in Hamilton, which starts on Saturday.
Southee will not be replaced in the squad with Neil Wagner and Matt Henry the remaining two pace options. All-rounders Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme can also bowl brisk medium pace.
Meanwhile Quinton de Kock is a doubt for South Africa after the wicketkeeper suffered a finger injury during the eight-wicket victory over the hosts last weekend.
De Kock, whose belligerent knock of 91 in a 160-run partnership with Temba Bavuma swung the second test at the Basin Reserve, was sent to hospital for scans on the injury to his right index finger.
The 24-year-old missed training yesterday and team officials say a decision on whether he played would not be made until Friday.
Uncapped Heinrich Klaasen could take the gloves for the match at Seddon Park, which starts on Saturday.
South Africa lead 1-0 after their victory in Wellington and the rain forecast for the first four days of the Hamilton test could hamper New Zealand's hopes of saving the series.