Laurie Evans had to step in to save Warwickshire from totally collapsing with his century steadying their innings in their match against Sussex at Edgbaston.
After the champions bowled Sussex out for 311, their top order collapsed to 47-4 before Evans came in to make 137 and help steer them to 252-6 by the close of day two and trail by just 59 runs.
Loan signing Maurice Chambers took 5-68 for the Bears, but then three batsmen made ducks as Steve Magoffin claimed his 50th and 51st wickets of the season without conceding a run.
Evans has now made centuries in three successive home championship matches though and he came to the rescue with a partnership of 137 with former Sussex wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose (61) crucial in correcting a dire situation.
England call-up Chris Jordan finally ended the fifth-wicket stand when Ambrose gloved a lifter to point but Tom Milnes (24 not out) then helped add 66 before Evans clipped off-spinner Chris Nash to short mid-wicket for a smart catch by Ed Joyce.
At the start of the day, Sussex's overnight pair, Jordan and Beer, extended their partnership to 97 in 37 overs before Keith Barker and Chambers wrapped up the innings.
The ever-consistent Barker bowled Jordan (61) with an in-swinger and Beer (31) strayed in front of a straight one from Chambers, who then knocked back Magoffin's middle stump.
Whether or not anything permanent comes out of Chambers' month at Edgbaston, he has put himself in the shop window by the simple virtue of bowling with good pace and control.
For Essex this is history repeating itself. Chambers is the first bowler to take five wickets on debut for Warwickshire since Chris Wright in 2010. He also arrived from Chelmsford on a loan deal that led to a contract and a championship triumph last summer.
Wickets continued to fall as Sussex's seamers got on a roll with the new ball. Magoffin fired out Varun Chopra and Ateeq Javid with slip catches and Jimmy Anyon broke Ian Westwood's resistance when the opener edged behind the wicket after making 16.
William Porterfield was then out fifth ball, another catch by wicketkeeper Ben Brown giving Magoffin three for 30 after 10 overs.