Essex took another sizeable step towards claiming a first red-ball title since 1992 as they declared with a first-innings lead of 168 against Warwickshire in Specsavers County Championship Division One.
Half-centuries from Varun Chopra (98), Dan Lawrence (78) and James Foster (68) saw the visitors more comfortably beyond the 201 posted by Warwickshire on day one and up to 369-9 before Ryan ten Doeschate made the declaration late in the evening session.
That gave the Warwickshire openers two overs to survive before the close, they did just that and will start tomorrow 7-0.
Earlier in the day, Tom Westley (28) made a good start before nicking behind to Chris Woakes, the England bowler taking 2-64 at Edgbaston.
Lancashire‘s hopes of catching Essex were all but ended after they were asked to follow on having slumped to 133 all out, a first innings deficit of 202, at Somerset with Jack Leach taking 5-47.
Tom Bailey took the final Somerset wicket early on the second morning, removing Leach (29) with 335 on the board and only five added to the overnight total, but the Lancashire reply never really got going.
Haseeb Hameed was the second wicket to fall, caught on the hook off Peter Trego for only four from 56 balls and while Lancashire captain Steven Croft provided some resistance, making 41 before edging Craig Overton behind, his team-mates failed to cope with Leach’s left-arm spin.
Lancashire reached 28 without loss in their second innings but still face a battle to save the game.
Kumar Sangakkara (164) hit his seventh County Championship hundred of the summer as Surrey made 592 in their first innings against Yorkshire.
The Sri Lankan shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 258 with wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes, who made 110 to boost his chances of an Ashes call-up, before both were ousted by Jack Brooks (5-113).
However, a draw seems the most likely result on an excellent pitch for batting at The Oval with Yorkshire reaching 171-1 at stumps, thanks to an opening stand of 162 between Tom Kohler-Cadmore (78) and Shaun Marsh (77no).
Just 30.1 overs were possible at Uxbridge before torrential rain wiped out the remainder of day two between Middlesex and Hampshire.
Fidel Edwards took 2-35 as Middlesex slipped to 75-3 before the rain came but after a wet outfield prevented any play on day one, a draw appears increasingly likely.
In Division Two, Cameron Bancroft hit an unbeaten 206 and carried his bat for Gloucestershire as they posted 385 against Kent.
Bancroft began the day on 124 with the home side 242-5 in Bristol and while wickets fell at the other end, the 24-year-old Australian continued and received welcome support from No 11 Matt Taylor (36) to allow him to reach his double ton.
In reply, Kent lost two wickets before stumps as opener Sean Dickson (20) and night-watchman Adam Milne (0) fell to Josh Shaw (2-21).
A century from opener Brett D’Oliveira (121no) helped Worcestershire to 270-4 after bowling Leicestershire out for 404.
Neil Dexter, unbeaten on 102 overnight, was trapped lbw by Ravichandran Ashwin (2-132) having scored just 12 more.
D’Oliveira and Daryl Mitchell (58) put on 119 for the first wicket and George Rhodes’ added 47 as Worcestershire attempt to strengthen their position on the second promotion place.
Northamptonshire will be hoping to close the gap though, after securing a 103-run first-innings lead over Glamorgan.
The visitors were bowled out for 310 in Cardiff with Richard Levi hitting 101 and opener Rob Newton making 67 as they advanced from their overnight total of 59-2.
Michael Hogan took 4-58 for Glamorgan, who closed on 63-1 in their second innings, still 40 runs behind.
Meanwhile, Hardus Viljeon took 7-80 to give Derbyshire the upper hand against Sussex at Hove and bowl the hosts out for 271 on day two.
Jofra Archer wrapped up the Derbyshire innings with the first ball of the day but the visitors’ total of 338 has proven a competitive score as Sussex stuttered to 149-7.
Luke Wright top-scored with an unbeaten 70 and took a partnership of 70 with David Wiese (47) to help Sussex up to 200 and beyond before Viljeon returned to mop up the tail.
Archer removed Luis Reece early in Derbyshire’s second innings but the away side reached 31-1 at stumps, a lead of 98.