Promoted Essex bowled themselves within sight of an innings victory in their opening CricInfo Championship game of the season against Leicestershire at Grace Road.
Left-arm paceman Mark Ilott and Ricky Anderson both took four wickets as Leicestershire were bowled out for 104 in their first innings and followed-on 214 behind.
The homeside's problems continued second time around and by the close they had struggled to 62-2 off 32 overs - still trailing by 152 runs.
It was a superb effort from Ilott and Anderson on a pitch that always gave them some assistance. The ball swung and seamed for much of the day but Leicestershire contributed to their own downfall with some poor shots.
Iain Sutcliffe top scored with 21 but the home side lost their last eight wickets for 44 runs with Ilott taking 4-27 and Anderson 4-21.
Then Ilott had Vince Wells taken by Stuart Law at slip in the fourth over of the second innings and Darren Maddy was trapped lbw by Ronnie Irani.
At the start of the day Essex also suffered a batting slump, losing their last five wickets for 42 runs in 19.1 overs to be dismissed for 318. James Ormond claimed 5-71 and Devon Malcolm, on his debut, 3-54.
Essex vs Leics
CricInfo Championship Division One
England Domestic Season