Yorkshire remain on course for a vital Specsavers County Championship victory over Warwickshire at Headingley having been set a victory target of 175 after tea on day three.
A fourth win of the season for the White Rose in their final home match would help them take a giant step towards avoiding relegation.
Middlesex’s win over Lancashire at Lord’s has left Somerset in a precarious position.
They are on course for defeat against Surrey at the Oval.
Yorkshire, Middlesex and Somerset all started this round of matches within a point of each other towards the bottom of the Division One table.
Make no mistake, a Yorkshire win is not a foregone conclusion given they closed on 56-3 from 21.4 overs, needing 119 more.
Already relegated Warwickshire battled back impressively from 49-6 in their first innings to ensure they could still spring a surprise.
They advanced from 49-1 overnight in their second innings, trailing by 28, to 251 all out in the first half of the evening session.
Steve Patterson was Yorkshire’s standout bowler today with a season’s best 4-46 from 26 overs as he led an impressive all round bowling display.
The seamer was at his metronomic best and extracted plenty of life out of a pitch which is offering something for everyone.
Tim Bresnan also claimed three wickets, while Ben Coad wrapped up the innings with his 50th first-class wicket of the season.
Play took place under the floodlights all day.
Rain delayed things for 20 minutes in the early stages of the afternoon, cutting one over from the day’s allocation of 96.
Jack Brooks had Liam Banks caught behind and Patterson had Ian Bell the same way, although off inside edge, before lunch.
Bears captain Jonathan Trott reached 50 off 72 balls
Yorkshire struck four times during the afternoon.
Patterson had Trott, for 59, and Matt Lamb (25) lbw as the score fell to 161-5 after 58 overs.
Bresnan later bowled debutant all-rounder Alex Thomson for 20 with 209 on the board in the 72nd over, a lead of 132.
And when he forced Warwickshire’s next best scorer Tim Ambrose to edge to first slip for 49, where Alex Lees took a smart catch, the visitors were 216-7 in the 74th, a lead of 139.
Bresnan claimed his third wicket shortly after tea.
He had Chris Wright caught at mid-off following a miscue – 230-8 in the 78th – to match Patterson’s three-wicket return.
But Patterson’s fourth was that of Jeetan Patel, who lost his middle stump against the new ball.
When Coad had Ryan Sidebottom caught at second slip by a tumbling Adam Lyth to reach his milestone and wrap up the innings, Yorkshire were left with an hour and a half’s batting through to close.
Unfortunately, the White Rose slipped to 25-2 with the loss of Lyth and Lees.
Lyth was lbw to Sidebottom before Lees feathered a turning Patel delivery behind.
Gary Ballance then pulled Patel over mid-wicket for six in his unbeaten 16, but Kraigg Brathwaite fell to Patel, caught at short-leg, in the day’s final over.
He said: “It was a reasonable day for us. After the way we bowled first innings, we’d have liked to have got them out a bit quicker. But they dug in and have played well. We got there eventually.
“If you’d have offered us a target of 175 at the start of the game, I certainly would have accepted it, and I think most of the lads would.
“We’ve got to come back and play well tomorrow.
“Patel is a quality bowler and has been for a number of years for them. It’s going to be tough against him because it’s spinning. But we’ve got good players to combat him.
“In the context of the season, it’s huge tomorrow. We’ve all noticed that Middlesex have won, which gives them breathing space from Somerset and us at this moment. If we get on the right end of it, we’re in a healthy position going into that last game. If we don’t win, we’ll be up against it. It’s in our own hands, and that’s all you can ask for.
“It was nice to get out there and bowl a few overs. Last week at the Oval was the first time I’ve played a Championship game for two and a half months. It was tough as a bowler there on a flat pitch.
“I wanted to come in here and do what I normally do. The pitch offered some assistance and I got rewards.”