Surrey's destiny in own hands
Surrey will be chasing 175 on the last day at Edgbaston to make their First Division place virtually secure for another season in the LV County Championship.
After building a first innings lead of 88, they dismissed fellow strugglers Warwickshire for 264 and set themselves a target of 177. In two overs before the close they made two without loss.
Warwickshire only retained a chance of survival in the top flight thanks to a fluent 79 by Ian Westwood and a battling effort by their lower order.
Jim Troughton, coming in at number seven because of a sore back, made 43 and Neil Carter added a valuable 27.
Surrey had missed two opportunities to put the home side under early pressure.
Michael Powell survived a chance in the slips off Ormond but this was not as costly as Westwood’s let-off when James Benning spilled an edge off Nicholson at third slip.
While Powell departed soon afterwards, cutting Nicholson to Jade Dernbach at point after making 13, Westwood progressed at rapid rate when fed too many loose deliveries by Surrey’s seamers.
The left-hander cut Chris Jordan for six and reached 50 in only 59 balls when he cleared the fence again with a pick-up off Dernbach.
Warwickshire edged into the lead before Surrey hit back in the afternoon.
In three seasons of trying Westwood has yet to make a championship hundred at Edgbaston and again he fell short after hitting 13 fours.
Dernbach was the bowler when Denning held a chance at backward point.
Jonathan Trott, who put on 101 with Westwood, was caught behind off Ormond for 33 and the game swung back towards Surrey with two catches by Scott Newman in successive overs.
After taking a straight-forward chance when Tim Ambrose turned Murtaza Hussain to leg-slip, he was stationed in the gully when combining with Ormond to remove Alex Loudon for 33.
Off spinner Hussain dismissed Ant Botha and Alfonso Thomas at minimal cost and Troughton’s resistance ended after an amusing incident in the outfield.
Mark Ramprakash called on a member of the ground staff to shovel up evidence of a fox’s visitation to the ground overnight.
Almost straight away Ramprakash ventured almost on to that spot to take the catch when Troughton hooked Jordan to deep square leg.
Carter kept Surrey waiting 10 overs for their next wicket and then guided a short ball from Jordan straight to wicket-keeper Jonathan Batty. When last man James Anyon clipped Jordan to mid-on, Chris Woakes was left 14 not out.
In the morning, both teams claimed one more bonus point before Surrey’s first innings closed for 373.
After a late start because of bad light, Hussain fended off Anyon’s first ball to Woakes on the off-side, but Ormond made an unbeaten 25 before Dernbach (10) hooked to Thomas to mid-on.