Left-armer Mark Footitt’s best figures of the season helped Surrey to the brink of a win over Lancashire.
On a flat pitch at the Kia Oval, Footitt took 5-49 – including 3-3 in 28 balls during the day’s final session – as Surrey’s attack caused headaches for the Red Rose middle order.
By the close Lancashire had toppled to 203-8, a paltry lead of 10 after losing six wickets in the final session.
In Division Two, Essex took a big step towards landing the title – and promotion – by beating second-placed Leicestershire by an innings and 10 runs inside three days at Grace Road.
Essex turned their overnight 368-8 into 423 – a first-innings lead of 185 – thanks to the efforts of Dan Lawrence (154) and Grahan Napier (31).
The hosts were then dismissed for 175 second time around, with Jamie Porter and former Leicestershire seamer Masters each taking four wickets, Porter’s match figures reading 8-99.
Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell scored his first championship hundred for 13 months on a drastically curtailed third day against Northamptonshire at New Road.
Only 17.2 overs were possible in the day as Worcestershire added 42 runs for the loss of two wickets in reaching 195-3 – still 356 in arrears.
Rain prevented Glamorgan and Sussex making much progress at Cardiff.
Glamorgan reached 149-2 – an overall lead of 118 – on a day when only 19.3 overs were bowled because of rain and bad light. With one day remaining, and Sussex seeking a win that will boost their hopes of overhauling leaders Essex, captains Jacques Rudolph and Luke Wright may agree on a target that Sussex could chase.