There was a win for Warwickshire at Edgbaston as they kept their LV= County Championship title defence alive. Meanwhile rivals Yorkshire and Middlesex took complete control of their matches against Sussex and Derbyshire.
Draws now look inevitable at Old Trafford and Canterbury, but the match at Edgbaston is nicely set up going into the final day. Elsewhere, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire and Yorkshire all enjoyed outstanding days in the LV= County Championship.
There was more joy for the nation's batsmen as runs flowed on another sunny day around the country. Laurie Evans and Rob Key both reached three figures for their sides, while Sean Ervine, James Taylor, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Michael Lumb and Ateeq Javid all prospered.
There were wins for Durham, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Glamorgan and Middlesex in the evening's Friends Life t20 matches. Meanwhile, at Cheltenham, Kent and Gloucestershire set up a last day run chase in their LV= County Championship Division Two match.
The LV= County Championship made a return as the Friends Life t20 takes a break before its return in earnest at the weekend. There were good performances today from Mark Footitt, Michael Yardy, Varun Chopra and James Vince
Right-hand batsman Wayne Madsen has signed a new three-year contract with Derbyshire that will keep the 27-year-old at the club until the end of the 2014 season.
Madsen made his debut for Derbyshire in 2009, since cementing a position in the side, scoring nine centuries in first-class cricket including 170 on debut.
Derbyshire all-rounder Garry Park has signed a new one-year contract which will see him take over the role of second-team captain in 2012.
He will also continue to compete for opportunities in first-team cricket having featured regularly in Twenty20 and 40-over cricket since his move from Durham in 2009.
Derbyshire pair Jonathan Clare and Wes Durston have been awarded new three and two-year contracts respectively, the club has confirmed.
Lancashire Academy graduate Clare, 25, has made 34 first-class appearances for the club since joining following a trial in 2005, while ex-Somerset all-rounder Durston joined Derbyshire in 2010 having impressed playing for the Unicorns.
All-rounder Greg Smith is to leave Derbyshire at the end of the season after the club decided not to offer him a new contract.
Smith, 28, has had discussions with other counties and Derbyshire have accepted that their valuation of the player does not match that of the player.
Derbyshire have awarded opening batsman Paul Borrington a new three-year contract that will see him stay with the club until the end of the 2014 season.
Borrington, 23, came through Derbyshire's Academy and has made the headlines in club cricket this season, scoring eight centuries for Ticknall and heading the Kingfisher Beer Cricket World Club MVP Ratings.
Fast bowler Tim Groenewald has signed a new three-year contract which will keep him at Derbyshire until the end of the 2014 season.
Groenewald, 27, had been the subject of interest from other counties but has decided to stay in Derby following his move from Warwickshire ahead of the 2009 season.
21-year-old Derbyshire wicket-keeper Tom Poynton has signed a a three-year contract which keeps him at the club until the end of the 2014 season.
He follows Tom Knight and Ross Whiteley in signing contracts as the club pushes to develop a strong group of young players to take them forward.
Derbyshire all-rounde Ross Whiteley has signed a new three-year contract at the club which will keep him in Falcons colours until the end of the 2014 season.
Whiteley, 22, has signed his first full-time contract having graduated from the Academy in 2007 and been on summer contracts since then.
Derbyshire fast bowler Steffan Jones is to retire from playing professional cricket at the end of the season and take up a teaching position in Somerset.
He was offered a three-year contract by Derbyshire to remain with the team and further his coaching career but has decided to move back to his family home.
Derbyshire have signed Yorkshire left-arm spinner David Wainwright on a month-long loan deal that begins on 2nd July to cover for the absence of Tom Knight.
Knight is unavailable due to his call-up to the England Under-19 squad and Wainwright will be given opportunities to proves he is worth a place at Yorkshire along with the likes of Adil Rashid and Azeem Rafiq.