Western Australia's Marcus North regained form with a fine 87 but Victoria took charge on day one of their Sheffield Shield clash at the MCG.
The Warriors were bowled out for 248 as North's decision this week to quit the captaincy in a bid to regain form paid immediate dividends.
Victoria will resume on Friday on 0-21 with Peter Handscomb on six and Chris Rogers 12 not out.
"I've been under a bit of pressure form-wise so I needed to get a score in this game or else I might have been playing in the second eleven next week," the 21-Test veteran North said.
"It's nice to be able to do it in tough conditions against a good bowling attack and when the team needed it."
North hit eight fours and one six and faced 170 deliveries in almost four hours of batting.
"It felt like a couple of days out there. I haven't batted that long for a while," said North, 33.
"It was nice to do the hard yards."
North, who had scored only 23 runs in his side's opening two games, was last man out when he was bowled by Test quick James Pattinson.
His decision to quit the captaincy of the Warriors and the Perth Scorchers comes after the Scorchers' boozy night out for Mitchell Marsh's 21st birthday during their Champions League Twenty20 campaign in South Africa last month.
North added 59 for the third wicket with Test batsman and acting Warriors captain Mike Hussey (65).
Pattinson and Test teammate Peter Siddle claimed two wickets each as did Clint McKay, Jayde Herrick and young allrounder Alex Keath.
Victoria captain Cameron White chose to bowl first in overcast conditions on a green-tinged MCG pitch.
Hussey played a determined knock in tough conditions before he was caught at second slip by his brother David off Herrick's bowling at 3-122.
Adam Voges (10) poked a catch to second slip and Mitchell Marsh (two) was caught behind as Siddle struck in consecutive overs.
Test wicketkeeper Matthew Wade took several blows to his sore thumb during the post-lunch session.
Tom Triffitt (12) was out in the second over after tea to Pattinson as David Hussey pouched his third catch and Mitchell Johnson (five) was caught behind at 7-190.
Michael Beer (22) was eighth man out after adding 48 with North as the courageous Wade claimed his fourth catch.
McKay (2-49) said the Bushrangers had failed to capitalise on a juicy pitch.
"It was a bit disappointing towards the end of the day. We let them off the hook a little bit," he said.
Victoria's batsmen made a nervous start with Handscomb dropped at first slip by Voges off Johnson's bowling.
North said former Test quick Johnson's speed was up around 150km/h.