Essex, chasing 358 to avoid the follow-on against Middlesex at Lord’s, ended the second day on the back foot at 120 for four.
After Middlesex declared on 507 for seven Essex soon lost England opener Alastair Cook, who pushed forward to Toby Roland-Jones and edged to the keeper for 14.
Tom Westley looked in prime form, striking six fours in his 44-ball 31. But then he was bowled by a fine delivery from Steve Finn which left the batsman slightly off the pitch to hit off stump. Late in the day Nick Browne was lbw to the off-spin of Ollie Rayner and in the penultimate over night watchman Jamie Porter had his off-bail removed by Roland-Jones.
After a 20-minute delay because of bad light, Middlesex had resumed on 255 for one on a pitch which appeared to have gained half a yard of pace overnight.
Porter was the most lively of the Essex bowlers and he provided the breakthrough after five overs when he had Sam Robson caught behind for 149. Robson had been beaten outside the off stump by a beautiful delivery the ball before and Porter then beat new batsman Dawid Malan with each of his four remaining deliveries in the over.
Malan was bowled by Ravi Bopara for 14 when, short of room defending a ball that came into him, he chopped it onto his stumps to make it 305 for three. After lunch, Adam Voges was lbw to Porter for 13 as he attempted to work the ball to leg.
But by now Eskinazi was well on his way to becoming the third century-maker in the Middlesex innings. He reached his fifty from 107 deliveries with a fine straight-drive off Porter, his seventh four. But he failed to score from his next 26 balls.
When Middlesex were 321 for three at lunch they appeared on course to pick up a maximum five batting points, with just 79 runs needed from 19 overs. But they appeared to be more interested in building a big total than chasing down the fifth point.
They needed 42 off seven overs and then 24 off four. And by the time they started to throw the bat it was too late and they were nine runs short after 110 overs.
Eskinazi’s 199-ball innings of 100 ended when he was bowled by Westley, James Franklin was well caught in the covers by Dan Lawrence and when John Simpson was stumped off the bowling of Simon Harmer for an increasingly violent 90 Middlesex declared.
Simpson, backing up on 22, might have been run out when he attempted a single and ran into bowler Neil Wagner. Essex broke the stumps but after a discussion between a number of fielders they declined to appeal.