A blistering Ben Cutting spell has given Queensland an outside chance of victory but NSW are in the box seat to claim maximum points after an eventful third day of the Bupa Sheffield Shield clash in Canberra.
The Blues resumed their first innings at 6-291 on Thursday morning and lost Steve Smith (90) and debutant Adam Zampa (18) in the opening half-hour before skipper Stephen O'Keefe made an aggressive declaration at 8-319.
Trailing by 76 runs on the first innings, the Bulls were bundled out for 173 on an unpredictable Manuka Oval deck, setting NSW just 98 for victory.
The hosts found the going just as tough, losing Dave Dawson for six before Cutting (3-5) claimed Peter Nevill (0), Scott Henry (13) and Moises Henriques (0) in the eight deliveries.
That left the hosts reeling at 4-28 before Brad Haddin (five) and Smith (18) guided the Blues to 4-48 at stumps, needing a further 50 runs for victory on Friday.
It was a shaky start to the day for the Blues when Smith edged Cameron Gannon (3-51) down the leg side to Chris Hartley behind the stumps.
He was the first of 16 wickets to fall on an action-packed day.
Zampa showed some promise with the bat before he also fell victim to the Gannon-Hartley combination for 18, with O'Keefe (26 not out) immediately making his declaration.
Queensland's openers made a confident start under sunny skies before Joe Burns was brilliantly caught by Brad Haddin for 13 off Josh Lalor (2-31).
That brought Test hopeful Usman Khawaja to the crease on a pair.
The former Blues star never looked comfortable and was trapped lbw by Doug Bollinger (1-21) for eight late in the extended morning session.
Wade Townsend looked dangerous before he was clean bowled shouldering arms to Moises Henriques (3-31) for 39 late in the session to leave the Bulls in trouble at lunch.
Things only got worse in the middle session, the visitors losing a further five wickets to slump to 8-152 at tea, a lead of just 76.
Cutting (31) and Cameron Boyce (21) showed some fight with a valuable 35-run stand before Zampa trapped Cutting lbw with a clever quicker ball and removed Luke Feldman for one.
Zampa took 3-17 off six overs to take his match tally to five wickets on debut.
First Posted 29 November, 2012 5:01PM AEST