Essex moved to the brink of the Specsavers County Championship title by building a commanding position on day two against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Second-placed Lancashire, who need to win to take the title battle to another week, were forced to follow on in their game at Taunton.
And Essex moved closer to a victory of their own after making 369 for nine, a lead of 168, before declaring late in the day to give struggling Warwickshire two awkward overs batting.
Unbeaten Essex are all-but certain to win County Championship the season after promotion
The home side survived those unscathed on seven without loss but will have to bat with a resilience that has invariably been lacking this season to get out of this hole.
With plenty of time at their disposal, Essex's batsmen built a position from which they will aim to close out victory on the third day.
It was a collective effort led by Varun Chopra (98), Dan Lawrence (78) and James Foster (68) to which all the top