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Playing the blame game not our mentality - McCullum

In the chorus of happy voices singing the praises of this Test, it was a shame that one jarring note marred such an enthralling contest between Australia and New Zealand.

While Test cricket may have taken a giant leap in its evolution with the introduction of the pink ball and day-night cricket, the evolution of technology and it's use by officials continued to cause controversy.

The pivotal moment of this match hinged on third umpire Nigel Llong's decision to uphold the on-field umpire's call of not out when Nathan Lyon appeared to have grazed a Mitchell Santner delivery. While New Zealand made no excuses for their failure to recover quickly from that point, Brendon McCullum acknowledged it was critical to the way the session - and, subsequently, the match - played out.

"At the time it was incredibly frustrating," McCullum admitted. "It definitely had a bearing on the game, you hope when mistakes are made, they don't have a major bearing on the game but none of us are naïve enough to overlook the fact it did in this instance.

"At the same time, to Australia's credit, they seized that opportunity, they were able to put on two very strong partnerships which gave them a short lead but more importantly time out of the game in terms of us having to bat under lights. It had a bearing but at the end we had an opportunity and weren't good enough to take it."

Compounding New Zealand's frustration was the fact that while Llong was in the process of making his decision, Lyon had - after seeing the replay on the big screen - walked half way back to the race, clearly anticipating the decision was about to be overturned. McCullum said it wasn't his place to point that out to the umpires at the time.

"I didn't make the point," McCullum said. "Officials are there to make those decisions and it's not up the captain out on the field to coerce someone into it. Everyone saw it and everyone knows what happened and we're all of the same opinion. But we should focus on the fact that this Test was a roaring success and a hard fought game. There were frustrations but we're not going to blame that. That's not our mentality as a side."

Instead, McCullum's mentality was to draw positives from a series he desperately wanted to win, or at least not lose. This is the first time New Zealand have lost a series since June 2013 and they will now aim to start a new streak with victory at home to Sri Lanka in December and keep it running when they host Australia for a two-match series in February.

A cheering sight must have been the performance of Mitchell Santner who, apart from dropping Steve Smith on the final day, made an impressive debut. His left arm spin is still developing but Santner batted with composure and positivity in both innings, a remarkable feat considering the challenges provided by the pink ball and the pressure of the match situation.

"I thought he was outstanding," McCullum said. "You always hope when a guy makes his debut he'll be quite unflappable. He is the most laidback bloke I've ever seen make his debut. He's shown everyone he has huge future in this and game and we are incredibly lucky to have got two very good allrounders at home in Corey Anderson and Jimmy Neesham. Mitchell Santner has put his hand up and said don't forget about me. For us to have three potentially world-class allrounders is a good problem to have."

New Zealand will also hope that, after a full summer of cricket, Trent Boult and Tim Southee will provide a greater challenge to Australia's batsmen on home soil. "By Boulty's own admission he wasn't at his best in the first two test matches but, under an injury cloud, the way he bowled in this game showed how good a bowler he is," said McCullum. "Him and Tim Southee both had injury concerns in this match and we lose sight sometimes that they're still young guys and they're going to have the odd bad test match.

"They've shown they're resilient enough to bounce back and I couldn't be prouder of the way those two operated. And Doug Bracewell, he's gone from strength to strength and he's a real positive out of this three-match series. It's not always easy after a 2-0 series but there are some huge positives for us."

And in a summer that will finish in the way it has started, with the two neighbours fighting for Tasman bragging rights, McCullum isn't quite ready to concede that undefeated streak.

"After what we have seen in last two Test matches, it's closer to what we want to be as a team," he said. "By the time Australia arrive on our shores after a pretty intense summer, we'll be nearing our peak as a team, in our own conditions, it should be an interesting and enthralling series. If we can win those, a 2-2 draw over five Tests, our unbeaten run continues."