Cape Town - Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis says it's only fair to select Heino Kuhn for the fourth and final Test against England despite failing to perform in the series thus far.
Kuhn, 33, has struggled in the first three Tests after making his debut at Lord's last month.
He has only managed to score 78 runs at the top of the order with a best of 34.
Du Plessis defended Kuhn's slump, admitting that it's always hard to make your debut in England.
"Opening the batting as a lot of people say is extremely hard, especially in England and against a high quality seam attack," Du Plessis told reporters after losing the third Test at The Oval on Monday.
"I think it's important that we weigh that in to the equation and give someone a fair run.
"I can't tell you what's happening in the last Test, but I think it'll be fair on Heino to give him the series.
"It is a tough place to make an impact straight away, it's like a middle-order batsman going into India for the first time.
"This (opening) is a real hard job, I don't think we should be too hard on him. It's been a tough series so far."
By contrast, Kuhn's opening partner Dean Elgar's form has been impressive in England.
Elgar is South Africa's leading run-scorer in this series thus far, with 286 runs including a century and two half-centuries to his name.
However, together in the middle the pair have not kicked off at all with their highest opening stand only 21 in six innings'.
Elgar spoke to reporters after his 136 knock at The Oval on what he feels is the ideal combination for an opening partnership.
"I feel with opening partnerships you need to have chemistry, you need to know where to get off the mark and where to rotate the strike," said Elgar.
"You need to know what his strengths and weaknesses are. You need to know his game plans and their technique.
"It's a tough one, especially when you're playing in this country where the opposition is high class and bring out the small weaknesses if you have a new combination.
"It is a little bit disruptive, but from a personal point of view you've just got to stick to your game plan," added Elgar.
"So hopefully not too far in the distant future, we'll have a substantial partnership so we can solidify a pair for quite a long time."
The Proteas trail in the series 2-1 with the final Test at Old Trafford on Friday, August 4 (12:00 SA time).