A Chris Rogers century has helped Victoria to first-innings points but the battle for outright victory is evenly poised at stumps on day three of their Bupa Sheffield Shield clash against NSW at the SCG.
In reply to the Blues' mark of 293, the Bushrangers were all out for 330 shortly after lunch, with Rogers hitting a chanceless 125 and skipper Cameron White (72) the other major contributor for the visitors.
NSW quick Mitchell Starc strengthened his case for a Test recall, claiming the wickets of Rogers, White and Louis Cameron on Thursday to finish with impressive figures of 4-72 off 22.3 overs.
Unbeaten second-innings half-centuries to Scott Henry (78) and Peter Nevill (54) guided the Blues to 3-184 at stumps in their second dig, leading by 147 runs with a possible 112 overs still to be bowled on day four.
After resuming on 84, Rogers reached his 56th first-class century midway through the morning session with a quick single off Stephen O'Keefe (2-55).
It was a classy knock from the prolific opener who struck 18 boundaries from 258 balls against a strong NSW attack.
He had one slice of luck when he survived a caught-behind shout from Doug Bollinger (0-70) on 114 shortly before he was brilliantly caught at deep point by David Dawson off Starc's second over of the day.
Having removed Rogers with his ninth ball of the day, Starc gave his Test hopes a further boost when he removed White, caught behind for 72, and Louis Cameron, clean bowled for a duck, in the space of four deliveries.
Josh Hazlewood (2-83), O'Keefe and Moises Henriques (2-36) shared the rest of the wickets, while Bollinger was arguably the pick of the Blues' attack despite going unrewarded.
Henry and Dawson got the Blues off to a bright start in the second innings with a comfortable 78-run opening stand before tea to give the hosts a narrow 41-run lead.
But disaster struck after the tea interval as the Blues lost 3-9.
Dawson was first to go, brilliantly caught by a diving Ryan Carters for 40 of Dave Hussey's (2-16) bowling.
Hussey struck again when Nic Maddinson (six) spooned an attempted drive straight to Rogers at short cover before Steve Smith was trapped lbw for one by Jayde Herrick (1-57) to leave the Blues in strife at 3-89.
But Henry continued unabated, bringing up his second half-century of the match with his ninth boundary of the innings.
Nevill also found the conditions to his liking, putting on an unbeaten 95-run stand with the in-form Henry.
First Posted 15 November, 2012 8:02PM AEST