Warwickshire 206-7 trail Essex 541-9d by 335 runs
Warwickshire were still 186 runs away from making Essex bat again, with three first-innings wickets left, after an afternoon of attrition in sultry conditions at Chelmsford.
Essex took three wickets in the session to leave bottom club Warwickshire teetering on the brink of a fourth innings defeat in six Specsavers County Championship matches this season.
Sam Hain had resisted Essex before lunch and reached a deserved fifty from 93 balls to the first delivery of the afternoon, turning Aaron Beard off his hip to fine leg for the required single.
Tim Ambrose received a let-off on 15 when Ryan ten Doeschate dived a fraction late at forward shot leg, and Hain was reprieved when he edged Paul Walter between first slip and wicketkeeper and Cook only got half a hand to it. Next ball, however, Hain nicked in a similar direction and James Foster swooped to his right to claim.
Hain departed for 58, his highest Championship score of a season punctuated by numerous single-figures, having batted for 127 balls and taken Warwickshire from 65 for three to 171 for five in 44 overs at the crease.
The return of Neil Wagner, four overs before the new-ball was due, did for Ambrose. He over-stretched to reach the ball outside off-stump, was unable to control the shot and fired straight to Varun Chopra at point for 25. It was Chopra’s 200th first-class catch, and what better opposition to reach the landmark than his former team-mates.
Warwickshire struggled against the indefatigable Simon Harmer, nowhere better illustrated than by the fact it took the usually belligerent Rikki Clarke 30 balls to get off the mark. Clarke faced another 15 balls before the spinner finally gained some reward for his marathon shift with a successful lbw appeal.