A century by run machine Phil Hughes helped South Australia avoid total embarrassment but Victoria remain in charge after day two of the Sheffield Shield clash at Adelaide Oval on Friday.
Hughes showed class and guts in his innings of 120 to single-handedly guide the Redbacks to 8-239 in response to the visitors' 319, still 80 runs in arrears.
An overnight red ink for the Test number three and possible first-innings points looked on the cards for SA before recuperating Test spearhead James Pattinson (2-36) snared two late wickets late with the second new ball, including Hughes, to give the Bushrangers the upper hand.
It was a disappointing blow for Hughes, who watched his partners consistently fail to convert double-digit starts.
Pattinson took the new ball for the Bushrangers from the River End and looked sharp but was used sparingly and in short bursts in his first stint in more than two months since sustaining a rib injury in the second Test against South Africa at Adelaide.
New ball partner Will Sheridan (3-44) looked dangerous and was unfortunate not to get the first breakthrough when Michael Klinger (five) was dropped by David Hussey in the slips.
Hussey, recently omitted from Australia's limited overs squad, made no mistake second time around when John Hastings sent Sam Raphael (12) packing, the young opener edging an uppish drive to the experienced Hussey at second slip.
Hastings (2-35) got rid of Klinger (16), who sliced a back foot shot to gully where Rob Quiney took a superb diving catch.
Callum Ferguson's slim chances of earning an international recall were dealt a blow when, on 13, he poked a wide Sheridan offering to third slip, where Quiney pouched his second catch.
Hughes, fresh of two one-day international hundreds across the past fortnight, held the home side's innings together and raised his 50 when he worked Hussey behind square for a single.
The in-form left-hander helped SA out of trouble, after they dipped to 2-40 at lunch, but the home side would again be under the pump when Travis Head departed for 16 to teenage debutant James Muirhead, on the last delivery of the middle session to leave the Redbacks 4-117.
Four balls earlier Hughes survived an ambitious shout when he padded up to the young leg-spinner and was struck just outside the line but Head wasn't so fortunate, lunging forward and rapped on the back pad.
It appeared borderline outside off but umpire Paul Wilson raised his index finger, giving Muirhead his maiden first class wicket.
Sheridan struck twice after tea, enticing an edge from SA captain Johan Botha (21) to Handscomb, before having Ludeman (12) caught by Hastings at gully.
Hughes raised a superb ton - his fifth in all forms in what has been a bumper summer - off 184 balls when he charged Scott Boland and turned him behind square for two.
But on 120, Hughes nicked Pattinson to wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb before Test team-mate Nathan Lyon (duck) edged to Hussey at second slip.
The not out batsmen are Joe Mennie (22) and Chadd Sayers (two), who earlier were deadly with the ball.
Sayers (6-49) and Mennie (3-66) decimated the visitors, who suffered a calamitous 4-5 collapse from the first 7.5 overs of the second morning.
Resuming at a healthy 6-314 in milder conditions after Thursday's scorcher, the carnage started on the fifth delivery when Mennie had Will Sheridan chopping one onto his stumps for a 21-ball duck.
Potential Ashes squad bolter Sayers, the leading wicket-taker in this summer's Shield competition, struck twice in quick succession when Victoria captain Cameron White (14) feathered an edge to keeper Ludeman before Boland (duck) had his middle peg uprooted by Sayers, whose figures were a new career-best.
Mennie finished off the Vics when he bowled Pattinson, whose wild swing drew fresh air to cap a stunning 8-40 flurry off the last 19.5 overs of the innings after at one stage the visitors looked like sailing past 500.