A fascinating, fluctuating test ended in Adelaide last night with New Zealand suffering its narrowest loss ever in terms of wickets. So close yet so far to making it eight consecutive unbeaten series. When things are that close there will always be a lot of if only retrospection.
If only Neil Wagner had played.
Related, if only Mark Craig had been pulled out of the attack when Mitchell Starc came out to bat in the first innings.
If only Trent Boult had managed to find his form, rhythm and pace before the final couple of sessions of the test series.
Related, if only there had been a couple of build-up games before the first test.
If only Brendon McCullum hadn’t thought that with his side at 98/4 on the first day it was a good idea to try and hit Starc out of the ground with his sixth delivery faced.
If only BJ Watling had not fished at a wide one during the second over of the final day.
If only Mitchell Santner had not felt the need to bring up a maiden test fifty on debut by hitting a six.
And it needs to be said; if only Nigel Llong understood what a hot spot mark actually means. And, rightly or wrongly, that will be the abiding memory from this test.
If any of those things had happened differently it might not have ended this way. Although it pays to remember that Australia did play the majority of this match with ten men.