Australian skipper Tim Paine has paid tribute to a Blackcaps side he says is admired all around the globe.
Speaking at a lunch hosted by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Kirribilli House, the wicketkeeper lauded the New Zealand side for a stellar 2019.
"To Kane [Williamson], Gary [Stead] and the New Zealand squad - thank you for the tremendous spirit in which you've played this series, your team has been admired the world over for the way you play your cricket.
"The excitement that you build among your own fans is truly special - as the Australian team witnessed first-hand at the MCG, with a huge amount of Kiwi supporters packed into the MCG for the Boxing Day test.
"It was brilliant to see so many Kiwi shirts in the crowd, although they gave us a bit of stick. But it was part of a record-setting Boxing Day test crowd, and I'm sure the atmosphere will be as electric in Sydney as it was in Melbourne.
"We look forward to our friendly rivalry growing over the next few years."
Williamson's side have been thoroughly outplayed in the opening two tests of the series and now face the realistic prospect of a 3-0 whitewash.
But Paine is expecting the Kiwis to show the fight that saw the side rise to world No.2 just a few weeks ago when the final test kicks off in Sydney on Friday.
"I'd also like to applaud New Zealand on the year they've had. Going the distance in the Cricket World Cup final against England at Lord's, and pushing India all the way to the world No.1 test ranking, winning over millions of fans around the world in the process.
"There's been a lot of public discussion lately about whether this is the best New Zealand team the country has ever produced, and given the year you guys have had, it's easy to see why."
Williamson and middle-order batsman Henry Nicholls were absent from the event due to illness.