Queensland 236 (Nye 61, Noffke 51, Bollinger 4-55) and 3 for 79 need a further 333 runs to beat New South Wales 438 and 7 for 209 dec (Jaques 63, Katich 54)

Phil Jaques top scored with 63 in New South Wales' 7 for 209 as they set the Bulls 412 to win at the Gabba © Getty Images

Queensland face a major challenge to avoid defeat against New South Wales at the Gabba, where the Bulls need 333 on the final day with seven wickets in hand. The Blues set Queensland 412 for victory and at stumps the score was 3 for 79 with Jimmy Maher on 12 and Clinton Perren falling for 31 from the final ball of the day.

Their chase began poorly when Shane Watson again failed at the top of the order, caught by Simon Katich off Doug Bollinger without scoring. Watson was bumped up to open for the Bulls this season in an audition for a similar role with the Test team but his results have been disastrous - he has made 0, 0, 0, 15, 13 and 0.

Matthew Nicholson removed Ryan Broad for 24 and when Perren gave Daniel Smith a leg-side catch off Grant Lambert Queensland's chances of their first victory of the season looked slim. The Bulls had also started the day at the crease on 6 for 210 but they lost 4 for 26 in the morning session and Bollinger finished with 4 for 55.

Although New South Wales had a 202-run lead they did not enforce the follow-on, instead posting 7 for 209 before declaring and giving themselves nearly 30 overs at the Bulls ahead of the final day. Phil Jaques top scored with 63 and Katich made 54, passing 7000 Sheffield Shield/Pura Cup runs in the process.