Usman makes his case against NSW

USMAN Khawaja once again made a strong case to take up Ricky Ponting's place in the Australian Test team with a polished 85 from 102 balls in his side's 30-run win over NSW yesterday.

Khawaja and opening partner Chris Hartley (87) shared a 154-run first-wicket stand in the Ryobi Cup match at Manuka Oval, putting the hosts up against the ropes early, before the Bulls posted a competitive 6-292.

Khawaja has enjoyed a solid domestic summer since making the move north from NSW, averaging 51.40 in the one-day format from five innings, and 36.67 from nine Sheffield Shield attempts.

The 25-year-old gave his former teammate Steve Smith a chance at backward point in just the fifth over, but Smith couldn't hold the chance, before going on to hit 10 fours with some fine off and on-drives.

Ben Cutting rubbed salt into the Blues' wounds, with the big-hitter promoted to No.3 and living up to his reputation by cracking three sixes on his way to 39 from 32 balls.

Another former Blues batsman Peter Forrest (23 not out from 18) and Joe Burns (32 from 25) ensured NSW would need to score at almost a run a ball to win.

That chase got off to a shaky start after Alister McDermott removed former Test wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin for 15, with the score at 35.

Nic Maddinson and Steve Smith then fell in quick succession, with the scores at 52 and 57 respectively.

When opening batsman Scott Henry (65) fell caught behind to the impressive Cameron Gannon (5-38) at 5-127, and Gannon removed the in-form Moises Henriques (22) one run later, the game was as good as over.

Blues legspinner Adam Zampa (1-37 from five overs) had some expensive figures, but he will remember his Ryobi Cup debut for removing Hartley, who was stumped by Haddin.

The Blues mounted some late resistance through Ben Rohrer (80 off 60) and Joshua Lalor (26 off 25), before Gannon dismissed them both to end with a five-wicket haul.

The Bulls' win cemented their position in third place as they look to squeeze into the top two, where Victoria and South Australia currently sit.

Topics:  cricket nsw qld usman khawaja

Casuarina Beach Rugby Club to launch senior side in 2017

BIG NAMES: Adam Wallace-Harrison and former Waratah  Adam Leach are ready to launch Casuarina senior rugby.

Green light to go for Casuarina senior rugby

Girl guides gather

The group of ladies meet every year to remember their time as Girl Guides.

Girl Guides from the past reunite.

Dann died 'doing what he loved'

Dann Jenkins was killed in a crash yesterday morning.

Tribute to much-loved 22-year-old Dann Jenkins, who died yesterday

Local Partners

Steve Irwin's final days through dad's eyes

Bob Irwin with his son Steve.

'You never expect that’s the last time you’re going to see your son'

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals