Middlesex lead Warwickshire by 178 runs with seven second-innings wickets in hand.
It perhaps best sums up the mood at Edgbaston that supporters expressed relief that Warwickshire are holding their own against a team who had, before this match, lost six of their eight Championship contests. There was a time, not so long ago, when ambitions were far higher.
In this match two limited teams, lacking confidence and a bit of class, have been incapable of finding the knock-out punch. It will take a remarkable collapse or an ingenious declaration to conjure a positive result today.
No doubt we will be told that the docile pitch, losing the toss, the absence of Daniel Vettori or the presence of Jupiter in the house of Mercury have all contributed to Warwickshire's problems, but the truth is much more simple; Warwick-shire aren't currently good enough.
They should do just about enough to avoid relegation this year. They have some tough matches ahead of them but, with only two teams being relegated this season, they should be all right.
The warning signs are clear now, however, and survival must not delude Warwick-shire's powerbrokers into thinking that all is well at Edgbaston. There will be no long-term improvements without decisive action in the off-season. A forest fire is required to clear the dead wood left behind by Dennis Amiss' regime.
The fact that supporters have stayed away in their droves this weekend should be a warning to Warwickshire. With no Test at Edgbaston next year and not an enormous amount to savour in terms of county cricket this year, the motives for renewing membership are not as strong as they might be.
The open forum at Edgbaston after play on July 27 could be fascinating. The club's chief executive and director of coaching will be fielding the questions, and could be in for a tough night. To some extent that's a shame. Those two men have inherited a whole heap of issues that will take time to resolve. The poor pitches; the backroom team; the playing staff: all of them require attention, and these two fellows will require some time to make changes.
Yet what this club needs right now is leadership. Whether it is the captain, coach or chief executive, someone needs to seize the situation by the scruff of the neck and bring some dynamism to the club and the team. It is sadly lacking at present and the body language on the pitch is the most negative many supporters can remember since the dark days of the early 1980s.
Centuries by Mark Wagh and Tim Ambrose steered Warwickshire away from immediate danger in this match. Wagh (209 deliveries, 12 fours and three sixes) provided the most fluent batting of the match, driving sweetly, clipping neatly and lifting the spinners for three delightful sixes.
It was Wagh's first century since the match at Stratford in June 2004 and the quality of some of his strokes reminded spectators of what a special talent he has. He was dropped once, on 97, but this was the 19th first-class century of a career that has still to fulfil its rich potential. One swallow does not a summer make, however, and Wagh must now make a habit of such performances.
Ambrose (295 deliveries, 19 fours) may not possess the grace of Wagh. Yet he is well-organised, compact and patient and, in only his second innings for Warwickshire in the Championship, recorded his third first-class century.
The stand, worth 176 in 53 overs, was a Warwickshire fifth-wicket record against Middlesex, surpassing Ray Hitchcock (108) and Tom Cartwright's (68) 153-run effort at Edgbaston in 1960.
The intervention was most welcome for, at 82 for four, Warwickshire were flirting with danger. All four wickets owed much to batsmen error, though the sharp Chris Silverwood has been the one truly impressive bowler in the match.
Though Heath Streak made a season-best Championship score, Warwickshire still failed to secure full batting bonus points. Paul Harris fell first ball on debut and, for the seventh time in nine matches, the Bears couldn't pass 400 in their first innings.
It was hardly the first time that Warwickshire's batsmen have failed to deliver as a unit and changes may be on the cards.
Time is running out for Jim Troughton, in particular. He started the season looking tighter in technique than for some time but has passed 30 only three times in 15 innings.
Even if Ian Bell is not available to take Troughton's place for the match against Yorkshire at Scarborough on Wednesday, Michael Powell, Luke Parker and Navdeep Poonia are pressing hard. Moeen Ali has departed to play for England Under-19, though Warwickshire could recall him.
There might have been a case for playing Ambrose as a specialist batsman in that match for, on this evidence, Tony Frost is the better wick-etkeeper. The extent of Frost's injury remains unknown, however, and an imminent return is unlikely. Michael Barnes is making an excellent impression in the seconds and may become a very fine Warwickshire keeper.
Middlesex showed little inclination to set up a declaration in their second innings. Understandably lacking confidence, they proceeded quietly and will require a remarkable burst from Silverwood today if they are to force home their slight advantage.
Warwickshire lacked the firepower to break through. Neil Carter, as ever, gave his all but the attack lacks bite. Watching them bowl is like watching a wave erode a shoreline. That Streak, signed as a strike bowler remember, did not even bring himself on until the 31st over of Middle-sex's second innings says much. Warwickshire will need much more from him if they are to turn this season around.