Fourteen wickets fell on an eventful, and at times spiky, third day at Edgbaston as Nottinghamshire fought back with the ball after being dismissed for 217.
Electing not to enforce the follow-on, Warwickshire were reduced to 75 for five second time around, before declaring on 180 for six.
Set to score 427 in 107 overs, Notts had reached 38 without loss at stumps, requiring a further 389 to win.
"It’s like me deliberately sneezing behind the stumps.” Chris Read
Chris Read, the Nottinghamshire skipper, was understandably disappointed at his side’s initial showing with the bat.
“It wasn’t a great morning for us,” he said. “In a way, though, they’ve let us back in by not enforcing the follow-on. It’s given us a chance to put some points on the board if we bat well.”
Read was one of three players to be dismissed by Keith Barker, who, on occasions, seemed to be trying to distract the batsmen during his approach to the crease. Waving his arm around, his actions upset Read and a number of the visiting players.
“I think it was a deliberate attempt to mislead the batsmen,” said Read. “I don’t think it was in the spirit of the game but before we’d cottoned on to what he was doing he’d taken three wickets but the umpires dealt with it quickly once we’d expressed our dissatisfaction. As a tactic they’ll be happy with how it went - but - is it in the spirit of the game? I don’t think so. It’s like me deliberately sneezing behind the stumps.”
Thoughts of an unlikely victory chase are on hold, according to Read. “It’s not something we’ll have at the forefront of our minds,” he said. “We need to bat for five or six hours and see where we are as the day moves on.”
James Taylor and Michael Lumb had resumed the Notts first innings on 131 for two but they had only added three more when the stand was broken in the second over of the day.
Lumb (51) pushed firmly back towards the off spinner Jeetan Patel, who took a sharp return catch, diving to his right.
Patel shared the initial bowling duties with Rikki Clarke who maintained a steady line of attack to Taylor and plugged the midwicket scoring area.
Clarke’s spell eventually drew to a close and his replacement, Keith Barker, achieved fairly instant success.
After the midday drinks break Barker dismissed Samit Patel (19) with the first delivery of the restart. The left-arm quick had appeared to make a wave with his left arm just before delivering the ball – Patel chased the width and edged to Varun Chopra at slip.
From time to time – not every ball – Barker would make a similar wave of his hand – and then proceeded to pick up two more wickets in quick succession.
Both Taylor (80) and Chris Read (0) fell in the same double-wicket maiden, as Barker claimed his third scalp in 16 balls.
Ajmal Shahzad arrived at the crease and walked into some controversy. He backed away on two occasions against Barker – presumably seeing the distraction. There appeared to be some angry exchanges with the slip cordon and the umpires intervened – prompting an eventual shake of the hands between Shahzad and Barker.
The bowler finished his productive spell by zig-zagging his way in before releasing his final delivery.
Notts brought up their first batting point with the last ball of the morning session, still needing a further 114 to avoid the follow-on, with David Hussey unbeaten on 11.
Shahzad’s innings ended for eight in the first over after lunch, with Ian Westwood clinging on to a sharp catch – off the face of the bat – at short leg off Clarke.
Jeetan Patel took the next two wickets to fall, as Hussey (16) chipped to Porterfield at midwicket and Luke Fletcher (4) was bowled by one that turned back through his defences.
Andre Adams (7), on his 38th birthday and feeling unwell, was last to go, bowled by Boyd Rankin.
Batting again Warwickshire lost Ian Westwood (0) in the second over, caught by Samit Patel at second slip, off Shahzad.
Varun Chopra reached 1,000 first class runs for the season when he scored his second run but he only added 11 more before falling lbw to Fletcher.
Laurie Evans had made 178 in the first innings but fell for only 2 second time around as the pace of Shahzad knocked back his off stick, to leave the home side teetering on 32 for three.
Harry Gurney had been wicketless in the Bears first innings but he made instant amends second time around, having William Porterfield (24) caught behind in his opening over to collect his 50th first class scalp for Nottinghamshire.
Eight wickets had gone down during the afternoon and another fell immediately afterwards as Tim Ambrose (21) edged Patel to Alex Hales at slip.
Rikki Clarke narrowly avoided a pair – almost drilling a low drive straight to sub fielder Graeme White – but then showed his intent with two maximums over midwicket off Patel.
With Chris Woakes in support, the pair added 104 together in 17 overs, with the century stand being brought up by Clarke’s third six of the innings.
Patel had Woakes stumped for 60, leaving Clarke unbeaten on 54 at the time of the declaration.
Steven Mullaney (26 not out) and Alex Hales (9 not out) remained together during the closing eleven overs, although Hales had a life when Clarke put him down off Barker.