Joe Clarke hit an unbeaten 74 as Worcestershire looked to cling on to their slim Specsavers County Championship Division One survival hopes at Essex.
The hosts resumed at 252 for five, having bowled Worcestershire – who will be relegated if they fail to win – all out for just 94 during Tuesday’s morning session.
Ravi Bopara, 36 overnight, pressed on to reach 133 not out as Essex eventually declared at 474 for seven, Adam Wheater (66) and Simon Harmer (57) having also made valuable contributions.
Essex paceman Jamie Porter, who claimed a career-best seven for 41 in the first innings, soon accounted for both openers Tom Fell and Daryl Mitchell.
At the close, the Vitality Blast winners had moved to 140 for four with Clarke the linchpin – but trailing by 240 runs, the bottom county still looking set for a swift return to Division Two.
Worcestershire’s perilous position has eased the relegation fears of both Yorkshire and Hampshire, who battled it out at Headingley.
Tim Bresnan returned a career-best five for 28 as Hampshire were all out for 157 following a rain delay in the afternoon, a deficit of 27.
Yorkshire opener Adam Lyth (60 not out) and Jonathan Tattersall helped the hosts reach 172 for four by the close.
At Taunton, a century from Dean Elgar helped champions Surrey towards a commanding first-innings 485 against Somerset, who were then left at 122 for nine when bad light and then rain stopped play.
Division Two leaders Warwickshire pushed on to a first-innings score of 440, with centuries for both Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott, before Sussex were restricted to 224 for five at Hove.
Bell, who passed 1,000 first-class runs for the season on Tuesday, added just four to an overnight 108 before being trapped lbw by Danny Briggs, while Trott, in his final away game before retirement, made 124.
Keith Barker then picked up three wickets inside the opening seven overs and new England call-up Olly Stone claimed two as Sussex’s reply faltered before captain Ben Brown (58no) and David Wiese (66no) eventually steadied the ship.
At Grace Road, Durham were bowled out for their two worst scores in first-class cricket on the same day.
The visitors were skittled for 61 and 66 by Leicestershire, as Pakistan seamer Mohammad Abbas returned match figures of 10 for 52.
Leicestershire – who earlier finished their first innings for 321, with wicketkeeper Lewis Hill unbeaten on 43 – won by an innings and 194 runs.
Second-placed Kent continued their own promotion drive as a century from Zak Crawley helped put them in control against Glamorgan at Canterbury.
Crawley resumed at 56 with the hosts at 93 for two, and his career-best 168, eventually bowled by Kieran Bull, proved the mainstay of the innings, supported by a fine 85 from captain Sam Billings as Kent reached 436 all out.
Glamorgan, dismissed for 186 on Tuesday, had made 33 for four by stumps.
At Lord’s, bad light forced the Middlesex and Derbyshire players off – with high winds meaning the retractable floodlights could not be put out.
Middlesex resumed at 350 for eight, with Max Holden going on to complete his maiden first-class century and finish unbeaten on 119 in their 423 all out.
Matt Critchley was unbeaten on 87 as Derbshire replied with 222 for six as 19-year-old seamer Ethan Bamber took three wickets.
Gloucestershire saw their second-innings against Northamptonshire at Bristol stalled by bad light.
The visitors had made 173 in reply to Gloucestershire’s 125 on the opening day, which was also hit by the poor conditions. Craig Miles and David Payne each took three wickets.