Phillip Hughes strengthened his case to tour South Africa with an unbeaten 82 but Phil Jaques failed again as New South Wales built a commanding lead in Newcastle. After Tasmania's Brett Geeves was agonisingly stranded on 99 for the second time this season, the Blues pushed 350 in front with Hughes and Daniel Smith, who was yet to score, at the crease.
It continued a brilliant match for Hughes, who scored 151 in the first innings and now has 891 for the summer. Of the other men hoping for a South African trip, Jaques was caught behind off Gerard Denton for 12, while Jason Krejza picked up 1 for 52.
New South Wales had decided against enforcing the follow-on despite taking a big first-innings lead of 193. It could have a much greater advantage were it not for the strong efforts of Tim Paine (63) and Geeves, who struck 12 fours and two sixes, in Tasmania's lower-order fightback.
As Geeves and Tim Macdonald added 55 for the final wicket, Geeves moved within sight of a maiden first-class century, having missed out in November when he was left one short when Macdonald was caught at slip. Then came the unwanted d j vu as Geeves again worked his way to 99 only to see Macdonald caught behind off Mark Cameron for 3.
Things didn't get any better for Geeves, who then failed to bowl in New South Wales' second innings. Denton collected 2 for 28 but Tasmania looked extremely unlikely to take any points from the match as they aimed to close the gap with the second-placed Queensland, who lost within three days in Brisbane.