Surrey's remain well on top of their Specsavers County Championship tussle with Warwickshire at Edgbaston but their advance towards victory met some resistance on Day Three.
Trailing by 105 on first innings, Warwickshire closed the third day on 162 for four.
Half-centuries from Ian Westwood (52, 118 balls, six fours) and Ian Bell (68 not out, 115 balls, seven fours) at least removed the unthinkable prospect of a third successive innings defeat for their side. But Warwickshire have plenty of batting still to do to avoid a third successive defeat which would, even at this early stage, raise the alarming prospect of relegation.
Having dominated the match, Surrey would be aggrieved not to finish the job, but their grip loosened slightly when, having resumed on the third morning on 299 for three, they were all out for 437. A lead of 105 is very useful but not of the crushing weight that appeared possible when play began with Kumar Sangakkara unbeaten on 98.
Trott goes and Jade has his second, after a sharp catch from Kumar Sangakkara👏— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) April 23, 2017
The great Sri Lankan soon completed his 58th first-class century but, on 105 (165 balls, ten fours, two sixes), edged Keith Barker to Rikki Clarke at second slip. Dominic Sibley 56 (106 balls, seven fours) and Ben Foakes added 48 in 12 overs but after the latter pulled Olly Hannon-Dalby to long-leg and Sibley fell lbw to Clarke, the innings declined quickly.
Surrey batsman Dominic Sibley said:"We would probably have liked a few more runs so they have would have had to score more to go past us, but we are in a good position to try to win the game tomorrow.
"I'm feeling good. I had a good pre-season and haven't quite converted that into big scores. It was nice to get some runs but disappointing to leave a few out there as well.
Jeetan Patel removed Sam Curran (32, 47 balls), Gareth Batty and Mark Footitt in 22 balls while Chris Wright had Jade Dernbach caught at mid-off.
Westwood and William Porterfield gave Warwickshire's second innings a solid start with a stand of 45 before Dernbach entered the attack and began with successive wicket-maidens. His sixth ball took Porterfield's edge through to the wicketkeeper and his 12th meted out Jonathan Trott's third duck in six championship innings, courtesy of Sangakkara's catch at second slip.
Westwood and Bell dug in to add 68 in 25 overs. This time last year, former captain Westwood was enduring a nightmare run of form from which some onlookers thought his career would not recover. Far from it. When the 34-year-old edged Tom Curran behind, his return to the team after a broken foot has brought 205 runs from 519 minutes defiance of one the best seam-attacks in county cricket.
Scott Borthwick struck an important late blow when he bowled Ateeq Javid and Warwickshire will need a true captain's effort from Bell, with some resolute support, to stave off defeat.
Warwickshire captain Ian Bell said: "Surrey are in a really good place and played some really good cricket again. You always look back at games and the little one-per-centers and I think we should have got 400 in our first innings and maybe could have bowled a touch better, but we are fighting and that's all I can ask."
"This is our best performance of our season without a shadow of doubt. Now we have to scrap again tomorrow. We have to bat for a good period of time and get as many runs ahead as we can."