A chanceless 154 to New South Wales youngster Nic Maddinson and maiden Sheffield Shield ton for Trent Copeland provided the highlights on day three against Tasmania in Hobart on Friday.
Returning to the team on the back of a lean summer, the talented 21-year-old Maddinson took full advantage of a sedate batting surface and solid platform laid by David Dawson (75) at the top of the order to help earn his side valuable first-innings points and frustrate a Tigers attack missing regular strike bowlers Jackson Bird and James Faulkner.
Copeland joined the run feast after lunch and motored to his ton in quick time, the pair combining for an impressive 188-run sixth wicket partnership to take the game away from the Tigers and give themselves an outside chance of pushing for outright points on Saturday.
Forced to bat through four overs before stumps, the Tigers will resume on 1-30, still 45 runs behind the Blues who were bowled out for 500, opener Ben Dunk having fallen first ball when struck on the pads by a Doug Bollinger (1-20) yorker.
Alex Doolan stroked five boundaries to reach stumps unbeaten on 20 and Mark Cosgrove (10) will join him when play resumes on Saturday.
After Luke Butterworth (5-83) made early inroads by removing Dawson and Tim Cruickshank (39), the home attack was forced to toil as Maddinson first teamed with Ben Rohrer (47) to add 119 runs for the fourth wicket and then piled on the pain alongside Copeland (106) after tea.
With a slick outfield and unresponsive pitch, the Tigers had little choice but to watch on as the Blues pair passed their 426-run target, five down in the 128th over.
Copeland claimed the two points for his side with a pull shot to the midwicket fence from Evan Gulbis' bowling and carried on with the job to become the fourth centurion in a match that has seen bat dominate ball since the first afternoon.
He brought up the century milestone with a single turned to fine leg from Adam Maher (2-82) and was met by a huge roar from the Blues' rooms, raising his bat in their direction as he reached the non-striker's end.
The ton came up from just 122 deliveries, featured 13 boundaries and easily eclipsed his previous-best first-class score of 55.
Maddinson also finished with his highest first-class score and appeared to have recaptured the kind of form that saw him burst on to the Shield scene with a century on debut against South Australia in October 2010.
The compact left-hander peppered the fence between cover and backward point, scoring the bulk of his 19 boundaries through that region and was eventually out when Maher hurried him through a pull shot and managed to find the woodwork.
Maddinson's dismissal was followed soon after by that of Copeland, the rangy right-hander seemingly disappointed to be given out leg before wicket to Jason Krejza (1-112) with the off-spinner operating from around the wicket.
Maher chipped in to remove Adam Zampa cheaply as the innings began to lose momentum, but Josh Hazlewood (13) and Doug Bollinger (four) guided the total to 500 before Bollinger became Butterworth's fifth victim and Krejza wrapped up the innings by bowling Hazlewood.
With just one day to play, an outright result for either side still looks unlikely but Maddinson's classy innings - and the general performance of an unfancied batting line-up - will be viewed as a real positive for the Blues.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 08 February, 2013 6:51PM AEST