Victoria were 4-132 in reply to Tasmania's formidable first-innings score of 5-439 when bad light stopped play late in the third session on the second day of their Bupa Sheffield Shield clash at the MCG on Wednesday.
Matthew Wade (13) and Andrew McDonald (11) are the unbeaten batsmen.
Victoria face a mountainous task to get themselves back into the match after Ricky Ponting (162 not out) and Alex Doolan (95) led Tasmania's first-innings assault.
The Vics had an early setback in their chase, with Rob Quiney out for five.
The left-hander was forced to play at a brute of a ball from young quick Jackson Bird (2-35) which caught his outside edge and was pouched on the second attempt by Tigers gloveman Tim Paine.
Opener Chris Rogers reached 32 before his wild hook shot off Adam Maher (1-19) landed in Xavier Doherty's hands at deep backward square.
Victoria were 2-68 when David Hussey arrived, and the veteran hurried his way to 28 before edging James Faulkner to Doolan at second slip.
And they sank further into the mire as captain Cameron White (31) joined Hussey in the dressing room three overs later after driving Bird straight to Maher at mid-on.
Reigning Shield player of the year Bird, who ripped Victoria to shreds with 10 wickets in the corresponding match last season, is again troubling the Bushrangers with his lively pace and probing line and length.
Earlier, Ponting belted 20 boundaries and one six in a knock that will have him brimming with confidence ahead of next month's three-Test series against South Africa.
The onslaught boosted the 37-year-old's MCG first-class record to 1762 runs at an average of 67.77 including five centuries and nine 50s.
He also passed 23,000 first-class runs on the way to notching his 78th ton.
Ponting's Test team-mates James Pattinson (0-89) and Peter Siddle (1-99) had much less to smile about.
With head selector John Inverarity in the stands, neither fast bowler - whose places in the Australian team are far from cemented - threatened Tasmania's top order for long enough.
With Brad Haddin challenging for the Australian wicket-keeping job, Wade will also want to impress selectors when he resumes at the crease on Thursday and is key to Victoria's hopes of salvaging a decent first-innings score.
The diminutive left-hander was cleared of serious injury after receiving on-field treatment to a finger while keeping during the middle session.
First Posted 24 October, 2012 6:35PM AEST