Worcestershire CCC leg spinner Brett D’Oliveira bowled a marathon 46 overs and was rewarded with three late wickets on another long day in the field for the County’s bowlers before Essex declared at 561-8 in the LV=Insurance County Championship match at New Road.
D’Oliveira sent back Ryan ten Doeschate, Adam Wheater and Shane Snater as the home side gained some tangible late reward for their disciplined efforts on a slow wicket which provided little encouragement for the seam bowlers.
They managed to restrict Essex to under three runs an over for the vast majority of the day and never wilted despite having to spend virtually a fourth full day out of the last seven in the field.
A century from Sir Alastair Cook on day one was backed up by Tom Westley and 90 from Dan Lawrence, but the Essex batsmen were made to work to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
D’Oliveira, who has become a fully-fledged member of the attack this summer alongside the four pace bowlers, ended with 3-147.
But Dillon Pennington, 28-7-65-1, Alzarri Joseph, 24-3-92-2, Ed Barnard, 30-12-59-0, and Charlie Morris, 26-7-105-0, also stuck gamely to their task in unhelpful conditions.
Openers Daryl Mitchell and Jake Libby batted through 16 overs to reach 37-0 by the close.
Essex resumed on 266-2 on a slow pitch with Westley (75) and Lawrence (33), the not out batsmen.
Barnard and Joseph went past the outside edge of Westley and Lawrence, respectively, in moral victories for the bowler.
Lawrence completed his half-century with a six over mid-wicket off D’Oliveira, and the same stroke brought up the 300 in the 110th and final over, where bonus points are available.
Worcestershire continued to bowl a tight line and give Essex little easy to hit as the run rate remained below three an over.
Westley’s third century in the last four matches at New Road – for Essex and England Lions – came up via a single off D’Oliveira.
He had not added to his tally when he was left wringing his right hand after being hit by a delivery from Morris.
It was Jake Libby, Worcestershire’s captain in place of the rested Joe Leach, who made the breakthrough with his first delivery of the day.
Westley on 113 went for a slog sweep and top-edged a catch taken by Ben Cox, who ran from behind the stumps and held onto the chance at the non-striker’s end.
He batted for 256 balls, hit one six and 14 fours, and added 130 in 36.5 overs.
The accurate bowling meant the boundaries dried up almost entirely for a spell after lunch, and only one came from 12 overs before Pennington dismissed Lawrence on 90.
He moved across his stumps to the England Under-19 paceman and was given leg before after the ball struck his back pad.
Tom Fell pulled off an excellent diving catch at short third man to dismiss Paul Walter (65), who carved away a delivery from Daryl Mitchell at 463-5.
Ten Doechate (41) survived a stumping chance off D’Oliveira, but the leg spinner trapped him lbw to the very next delivery.
D’Oliveira then had Wheater (23) lbw aiming a blow over square leg, and Championship debutant Snater (1) played on to the same bowler.
Simon Harmer raced to his half-century off 47 balls with four sixes before the declaration.