Marnus Labuschagne settled in for the afternoon but Queensland and NSW's Sheffield Shield final status remained unresolved after a tense day two of their clash in Wollongong.
The Bulls moved to 2-184 by stumps in response to the Blues' 381 at North Dalton Park in a match both sides will be keen to win to ensure a spot in the final.
Test star Labuschagne was in fine touch, stroking nine boundaries in his 81 not out while Usman Khawaja was unbeaten on 12.
While Western Australia's hopes of snaring a win against Tasmania to dislodge either Queensland or NSW from a place in the decider now appear slim, there's still at least a battle for home ground advantage in the final.
The Bulls got off to an edgy start with Test tweaker Nathan Lyon (2-52) having former Australian teammate Joe Burns caught behind for 15 to leave the visitors 1-27.
Lyon has picked up 35 wickets for the season and looks set to finish the competition with the most dismissals, particularly if the Blues make the final.
Opener Bryce Street (59) then put on 122 runs with Labuschagne before he was caught in the deep when sweeping Lyon.
Earlier, Jason Sangha scored his third first-class century as NSW set up a strong first-innings total.
After a lean season where he hadn't cracked a 50 in the competition, Sangha (103) stood up when it counted to hit three figures for the first time in more than two years.
"It was obviously quite relieving," Sangha said.
"It has been a bit of a rollercoaster 12-18 months being in and out of the side."
With the Blues resuming at 4-299, the wickets came steadily for the Bulls as the hosts chased some quick runs to polish off the innings.
But it didn't stop Sangha from reaching his milestone, the 21-year-old moving from 81 overnight before eventually mis-timing a drive to Matt Renshaw off the bowling of Brendan Doggett.
Sangha clubbed 15 fours in his 202-ball stay.
Doggett was the outstanding bowler with 4-79 but paid tribute to his fellow quicks Michael Neser (1-73) and Xavier Bartlett (2-81) as well as the Queensland batsmen for responding so well to the NSW innings.
"To finish two down, we're well on the way to chasing down the runs," he said.
Spinner Mitch Swepson, making a surprise early return from a neck injury, also picked up two wickets.