Captain James Taylor's hundred put England Lions in control against West Indies on day two at Northampton on Friday.
Taylor (118) shared a century stand for the sixth wicket with Jonny Bairstow (50) and was then last out after adding another 130 with the last three batsmen - including 64 alongside number 11 Jade Dernbach.
More than once, at 98-5 and even 211-7, the West Indies threatened to stay in contention.
But each time, the pressure faded through a combination of Taylor's resourcefulness in a 157-ball century, and the tourists' inability to consolidate, leaving them with a mammoth first-innings deficit of 194.
And after stumbling to 28-3 at the close, it was hard to see how they could head to Lord's next week without a defeat against their name already.
The Lions progressed to 92-2 in the morning, only to lose three wickets for six runs shortly before lunch as the ball continued to seam and swing - though not so much as under yesterday's leaden skies.
After Nick Compton appeared to be beaten for pace, losing his off-bail on the defence to Kemar Roach (3-90), Ian Bell and Michael Carberry began to prosper.
But Ravi Rampaul (3-79), who had bowled disappointingly from the Lynn Wilson end last night, switched to replace Fidel Edwards with the pavilion behind him - and was soon in the wickets.
He had Carberry edging to first slip to begin the Lions mini-collapse - and then put himself on a hat-trick at the start of his next over when he bowled Bell between bat and pad.
The bowler deserved plenty of credit for those two successes. But when Samit Patel chipped a check-drive straight back to Shane Shillingford, the Windies had a bonus wicket.
Taylor and Bairstow were brought together with just a single between them but after lunch assured batting from each served the Lions well
Bairstow struck seven boundaries on the way to his half-century but just when it seemed the Lions were about to put themselves out of sight, he mistimed a drive at Shillingford straight into the hands of mid-off.
Roach then bowled Matt Coles for a duck but Taylor did not panic, and received manful support from Stuart Meaker, Jack Brooks and most of all Dernbach.
West Indies opener Adrian Barath made just 14 before he was trapped lbw by Jack Brooks in the 10th over and Kirk Edwards (4) followed in similar fashion in the Northamptonshire seamer's next.
Matt Coles sent nightwatchman Fidel Ewdards back in the next over to leave the tourists reeling on 28-3 heading into the penultimate day.