Burns saves Queensland Bulls in Shield against NSW Blues

A gritty 97 from Joe Burns has saved Sheffield Shield finalists Queensland from a poor opening to their final-round match against NSW in Wollongong.

Needing a win to guarantee a home final, the Queensland top order had little answer on Wednesday to Trent Copeland's accurate bowling, eventually being bowled out for 243.

NSW survived a tricky 13-over spell to end the day at 0-41.

Former Test batsman Burns was playing his first Shield match of the calendar year after a groin injury, but was denied a perfect return when he fell three runs shy of a century.

His 171-ball innings, however, helped to save the Bulls after they were reduced to 6-117, thanks to three wickets in four balls from Copeland.

The Blues' paceman celebrated his 31st birthday in fine style, bowling throughout the opening session to finish with 5-74.

Michael Neser added 55 down the order for Queensland, helping the visitors earn 0.43 batting bonus points.

Queensland began the match with a healthy lead at the top of the table, and can claim hosting rights regardless of the Wollongong outcome, providing Victoria or Tasmania don't claim big bonus points in their match in Hobart.