A sparkling innings of 92 from South Australia opener Phil Hughes was not enough to wrest the initiative away from Western Australia on day two of the Bupa Sheffield Shield clash at the WACA.
Taking full advantage of a relatively benign batting track, the discarded Test opener gave the national selectors another timely reminder of his abilities, following up last week's match-winning knock of 114 against Tasmania with a similarly impressive innings against a lively WA pace attack.
The 23-year-old ultimately fell agonisingly short of three figures, however, felled by a combination of Callum Ferguson's misjudgement of a risky single and Nathan Coulter-Nile's accuracy from the covers which saw Hughes run out before the hosts pressed home their advantage to reduce the Redbacks to 6-209 at stumps.
That left the visitors trailing by 191 after the Warriors had defied the best efforts of pacemen Joe Mennie and Chadd Sayers in the morning session to declare at 9-400 with Mitch Marsh leading the way.
Putting recent off-field distractions behind him, the 21-year-old all-rounder struck 13 fours on his way to a fluent 73 before becoming Mennie's fourth victim of the innings, while Mitchell Johnson (27) and Michael Hogan (20 not out) also weighed in with precious late runs.
Adam Voges' declaration then left the Redbacks with an awkward 20-minute period to negotiate before lunch and although they managed to do so without any major scares, they did lose Sam Raphael early in the second session.
Working up a decent head of steam from the Lillee-Marsh End, Johnson tempted an edge from the rookie opener and wicketkeeper Tom Triffitt took a stunning catch low to his right.
Raphael's departure brought Michael Klinger to the crease, a man with a point to prove having spilled two vital catches on day one, and the Australia A representative performed admirably as he combined effectively with Hughes to steer the Redbacks to 1-120 at tea.
Compact in defence, Hughes continued to mercilessly punish the loose ball as the afternoon wore on, striking 10 boundaries in reaching his half-century, although he did lose the support of Klinger who had compiled a circumspect 37 when Michael Beer gained some reward for his toil by trapping him in front.
Hughes, however, looked untroubled until Coulter-Nile's fine display of agility and accuracy in the field brought his 192-minute, 148-ball vigil to an end and the visitors' day went rapidly downhill from there.
Travis Head was given a life with the total at 3-177 as Mitch Marsh juggled and eventually grassed an edge off Hogan at second slip, but it proved to be a brief reprieve for the Redbacks' No.5 as he nicked a Hogan delivery through to Triffitt just one over later.
When Triffitt claimed his fourth catch of the day to account for Dan Christian (eight), this time off the bowling of Mitch Marsh, WA were well and truly back in the box seat and although Tim Ludeman (six) and skipper Johan Botha (three) survived until stumps, the visitors face an uphill struggle to keep their hopes alive on day three.
First Posted 13 November, 2012 6:06PM AEST