Queensland 264 and 5 for 102 (Labuschagne 33*, Peirson 22*, Winter 3-23) need 48 more runs to beat South Australia 221 and 192 (Bartlett 3-33, Gannon 3-41)
Test batting aspirants on both sides were left without much to show for themselves for the second innings in a row as Queensland's Sheffield Shield contest with South Australia was left poised for a tight finish after no fewer than 18 wickets fell on day three at the Gabba.
Of those batsmen in contention for the first Test against Pakistan in Brisbane next month, no-one managed more than Joe Burns' 22 to go with 39 in the first innings. Travis Head (a duck and 12), Usman Khawaja (2 and a duck) and Alex Carey (14 and 20) were all left shaking their heads, with the Queensland captain least happy of all.
Shaping to defend a left-arm delivery from Nick Winter, Khawaja was beaten on the inside edge and the ball appeared to brush his thigh before he was given out caught behind. Khawaja, having been lbw in the first innings, lingered at the crease, knowing his chances for a big score to press for a Test recall are starting to run out.
Burns' exit was more clear cut, at the start of a sequence in which the Bulls lost 5 for 7 having been 0 for 47 in pursuit of 150 for victory. After Burns, Khawaja, Matt Renshaw, Charlie Hemphrey and the debutant Bryce Street all fell in the space of three overs, Marnus Labuschagne and the wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson steadied the chase to leave the hosts requiring another 48 runs on the final morning.
They required as many as 150 only through a spirited last wicket stand of 61 between Chadd Sayers and Wes Agar, after the Redbacks had again folded to the Queensland seamers on a pitch that had quickened up over three days though no longer offering much sideways movement.
An opening stand of 37 ended when Jake Weatherald cut forcefully but straight to backward point. Jake Lehmann ended a wretched match with a pair, nearly lbw first ball then caught behind when trying to leave his second.
Head got to double figures but was dismissed by a ball delivered from around the wicket once again, swishing wildly at Cameron Gannon to slice to gully, before Henry Hunt was unfortunate to be lbw to Michael Neser as the ball looked to be angling down the leg side. Tom Cooper edged an away swinger to Renshaw at slip, and Carey was annoyed at himself to nick an attempted forcing stroke in the same direction.