Warwickshire need only 41 on the final morning at The Oval to complete a win that will give them a 15-point lead at the top of the First Division, with a fourth victory in six matches.
With Tim Ambrose unbeaten on 74, they were 181 for 5 in pursuit of a target of 222 after dismissing Surrey for 245, Jeetan Patel capturing 6 for 95. Only Jon Lewis and Chris Jordan held up their progress, in a stand of 54 for the eighth wicket.
Warwickshire were then in trouble at 37 for 4 after the off-spinner Gareth Batty took three wickets in his first four overs, and though Batty went on to extend his match haul to 10 wickets for the second time in his career, a stand of 111 between Ambrose and the Ireland captain William Porterfield, who scored 66, swung the contest back in favour of the visitors.
Middlesex face a battle to deny Lancashire a first win of the season at Liverpool, where Glen Chapple declared at 266 for 8 to set the visitors 429 to win, or more realistically 14 overs plus the whole of today to survive. Dawid Malan returned career-best figures of 5 for 61 from his leg-breaks but a brisk partnership of 130 between Paul Horton (89) and Karl Brown (76) put Lancashire in control.
Middlesex had collapsed from 182 for 5 to be all out for 230 in their first innings, Ajmal Shahzad giving further evidence of what an important signing he could be by taking 4 for 40.
A first century of the season for Chris Nash, who was dropped on 82, plus 81 from Luke Wright in his seasonal Championship debut denied Nottinghamshire a strong first-day position against Sussex at Hove. In the Second Division, leaders Derbyshire strolled to a 10-wicket win over Essex at Chelmsford and Kent beat Leicestershire by an innings and 279 runs at Canterbury.
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