Daniel Vettori warned New Zealand to improve their batting if they wanted to beat South Africa in the final Test in Wellington and draw the series.
The Black Caps were unable to score higher than 200 in either innings of their second Test defeat as Vernon Philander's 10 wickets in the match helped the Proteas to a crushing nine-wicket win and a 1-0 series lead in Hamilton.
The home side's batting line-up also failed to fire in the drawn first Test in Dunedin, and Vettori knows that will have to change from Friday at the Basin Reserve if they are to claim a share of the spoils.
To that end batsman Daniel Flynn is likely to feature for the first time in two years while Dean Brownlie returns from injury as opener Rob Nicol and seamer Brent Arnel make way, with New Zealand set to opt for a three-man pace attack in an effort to bolster their batting.
Vettori told reporters: "If you break down the two Test matches so far, the majority of the time we have competed.
"Unfortunately we let ourselves down with the bat in the first Test and we fought back with the ball, and then let ourselves down again with the bat in the second Test.
"The talk from (coach) John Wright and (captain) Ross Taylor so far is about applying ourselves with the bat and putting a score on the board for our three seamers to make the most of these conditions."
And 33-year-old Vettori believes the outcome of this Test will define how New Zealand's summer is remembered.
The Black Caps fought back to draw the Trans-Tasman Trophy in Australia before beating Zimbabwe in all formats, but they have found wins harder to come by against a strong South Africa side.
And having already lost the Twenty20 and one-day series, Vettori says it is vital they finish the Test series on an even keel.
"It's pretty influential on our summer," he said.
"If we can scrap back from this Test match, then overall it's been a very successful summer. If not, then I think we will remember it for that loss [in Hamilton].
"It's really important, the boys understand that as well and the guys have done it in the past so this is an opportunity to try and do it again."
Philander's recent successes for South Africa - he has taken a remarkable 45 wickets in six Tests - has overshadowed the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in the Proteas attack.
But Morkel insists he is more than happy to see his team-mate running through sides.
It is a team game and I don't mind who takes the wickets as long as we are winning," he told Supersport.
"It's important not to get caught up in all that stuff about who's taking the wickets and how many.
"I'm bowling well at the moment and if I'm contributing in some way at the other end while they are taking the wickets then I'm happy."