New South Wales v Queensland, Pura Cup, Sydney, 3rd day March 3, 2007

Perren and Simpson keep Bulls in contention

Cricinfo staff

New South Wales 4 for 613 dec and 0 for 25 lead Queensland 8 for 464 dec (Perren 110, Simpson 85*, Broad 83, Lambert 4-77) by 174 runs

Clinton Perren's first Pura Cup century of the season set Queensland on their steady path © Getty Images

Clinton Perren and Chris Simpson upset New South Wales' victory plans by avoiding the follow-on as Queensland posted 8 for 464 at Sydney. The Bulls, who need a win to stay alive in the competition, immediately declared and the Blues were 0 for 25 at the close.

The home side's first-innings 613 looked adequate when the Bulls fell to 7 for 309, still 155 runs short of making New South Wales bat in order. Lacklustre fielding cost the Blues, as Simon Katich dropped Ashley Noffke on 0 before he and Simpson compiled a 99-run stand to edge Queensland within reach.

Simpson and Daniel Doran (30 not out) passed the required mark despite some great bowling from Grant Lambert. He took 3 for 0 from eight balls - it would have been 4 for 0 had Noffke been caught - with the second new ball and finished with 4 for 77.

Lambert had little assistance as Simpson (85 not out) recorded his best first-class score and Perren continued his late-season form spike. Perren's 110 was his first Pura Cup century in 2006-07 and featured 17 fours before he became Lambert's initial victim.

Katich, the New South Wales captain, left the field with an injured hand after his missed chance. He will now have to decide whether to set the Bulls a chase - the Blues lead by 174 runs - or accept first-innings points and focus on beating Tasmania in a top-of-the-table clash next week.