Warwickshire v Essex: Fine batting display puts Essex close to title
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Edgbaston (day two):|
|Warwickshire 201 & 7-0|
|Essex 369-9 dec: Chopra 98, Lawrence 78, Foster 68|
|Warwickshire trail by 161 runs|
|Essex 7 pts, Warwickshire 3 pts|
Essex put themselves on the brink of the County Championship title and edged Warwickshire closer to relegation with a dogged batting display at Edgbaston.
If Lancashire lose at Somerset, Essex will be crowned champions for the first time since 1992 with victory.
Essex moved from their overnight 69-0 to 369-9 declared, a lead of 168.
Opener Varun Chopra fell for 98, Dan Lawrence hit 78 and James Foster struck 68, before the Bears closed on 7-0 in their second innings.
With second-placed Lancashire heading towards defeat after being made to follow on, unbeaten Essex are all but certain to win the County Championship the season after promotion from Division Two.
Veteran wicketkeeper Foster's innings was invaluable, as the 37-year-old rescued his side from 271-6 in a seventh-wicket stand of 76 with Simon Harmer (24) to give Essex a healthy first-innings lead.
Most of the visiting batsmen contributed, although England number three Tom Westley was out for 28, caught behind off his international team-mate Chris Woakes.
Former Bears captain Chopra looked certain to reach his second hundred of the season, but was trapped lbw by medium pacer Matthew Lamb.
If bottom side Warwickshire lose, they will be relying on other results to avoid being relegated this week.