Young opener Ash Chandrasinghe's unbeaten vigil has shepherded Victoria towards a respectable first-innings total against Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield final.
Sent in to bat in a rematch of last year's decider at the WACA Ground, the visitors were in trouble at 6-129 when Lance Morris (2-52) had Sam Harper (13) caught behind off a brutish delivery on the last ball of Thursday's middle session.
But Chandrasinghe (46no off 266 balls) dug in his heels in a knock reminiscent of Indian stalwart Cheteshwar Pujara, combining with Mitch Perry (33) for a 52-run seventh-wicket partnership as Victoria reached stumps on day one at 8-194.
Recalled Test offspinner Todd Murphy was yet to score on a pitch which appears likely to offer turn and bounce.
Chandrasinghe added just five runs to his score in the middle session in one of the slowest Shield innings in recent memory.
The 21-year-old, who scored an unbeaten century on debut against Tasmania earlier in the season, rode his luck after securing a place in the XI when first-choice opener Travis Dean was ruled out with a shoulder injury.
He survived being caught behind off a front-foot no ball from Morris while on 25 shortly before tea, then withstood a fervent appeal for caught behind off Matt Kelly (1-50) on 45.
Ashes hopefuls Marcus Harris and Peter Handscomb each fell cheaply, the former trapped lbw by Morris on 19, two balls after he was caught in the slips off another overstepped delivery by the tearaway quick.
Returning skipper Handscomb (11) was trapped in his crease and caught at first slip off the bowling of Kelly shortly after the lunch interval.
On a day where the momentum ebbed and flowed, Victoria were 2-66 at lunch before Matt Short (36 off 60) added valuable middle-session runs, pouncing on some loose deliveries from allrounder Aaron Hardie.
He was eventually tied up from around the wicket by left-arm paceman Joel Paris (2-34), playing and missing several balls before edging to second slip.
Will Sutherland fell off his second ball faced, stumped by Josh Philippe after being bamboozled by offspinner Corey Rocchiccioli.
Perry was dropped by Josh Philippe on four off Paris's bowling but the pair combined again to dismiss him with the new ball.
WA will be determined to take early wickets on day two after several opportunities went begging.
"We probably would have liked to have batted tomorrow," Morris said.
"Overall, we've had a pretty good day. When we weren't taking wickets, the scoreboard wasn't really moving.
"If we can bowl them out for about 200, we'll be pretty happy with that result ... I think 250, 300 would probably be a pretty good score (on that pitch)."
Handscomb believed the visitors remained in a solid position after the final-session fightback.
"The wicket's been tough to score on," he said.
"For us to drag it out and get almost 200 today, I think can still put us in a position if we bowl well over the next few days to really challenge this game."
The skipper praised Chandrasinghe's focus after being a late call-up to Victoria's XI.
"For Ash to do what he did, carry his bat throughout the entire day in challenging conditions and not go outside his bubble, was very, very impressive," he said.
WA are chasing an unprecedented "six-peat" of consecutive Shield, one-day cup and Big Bash titles.
In the scenario of a draw, the bonus points system will be used.
Teams score 0.01 of a bonus point for every run over 200 they score during the first 100 overs of their first innings, while 0.1 of a bonus point is earned for every wicket the bowling side claims during the same period.