COLOMBO: Kumar Sangakkara missed a double-century for the second successive match as the rain-hit second Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka ended in a dreary draw in Colombo on Wednesday.
Sangakkara, who was stranded on an unbeaten 199 in the first Test at Galle, was dismissed for 192 after helping Sri Lanka avoid the embarrassment of a follow-on on the fifth and final day.
The hosts, who began the day needing 74 more runs to make Pakistan bat again, were all out for 391 in the post-lunch session in reply to Pakistan's 551-6 declared.
Pakistan, leading by 160 runs on the first innings, made 100-2 in their second knock when skipper Misbah-ul Haq close the innings soon after tea to attempt an unlikely win.
Sri Lanka appeared disinterested in chasing the tough victory target of 261 in 37 overs and were 86-2 in 22 overs when the match was called off at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
Sri Lanka will head for the third and final Test in Pallekele from Sunday with a 1-0 lead, having won the opening encounter in Galle by 209 runs.
Misbah said his team's performance in the match will boost the tourists' confidence for the last game.
“We came into this Test needing to show a bit of character and I think the boys did just that by fighting back,” he said.
“We will take a lot of positives from this game. The batsmen found form with (Mohammad) Hafeez and Azhar (Ali) getting big hundreds. The bowlers also did well on a wicket that did not help them at all.”
Misbah was delighted at his young left-arm seamer Junaid Khan, who was named man of the match after picking up five wickets in Sri Lanka's first innings.
“Junaid showed a lot of promise with the way he worked up good pace even on this pitch,” the skipper said. “He adds a lot of variety to our attack.”
Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene said a draw was a fair result.
“I am not surprised at all that Pakistan played so well in this game after losing at Galle,” he said. “They are a quality side and we knew they will come back hard at us.
“It's obviously disappointing for Kumar to miss a 200 again. But I am sure he will get over it soon and continue the fine form he is in.”
Jayawardene said he was aware of the importance of the Pallekele Test, where Sri Lanka need a win or a draw to earn them their first series victory in three years.
“I know we need to get the monkey off our backs, we have not won a Test series in a while,” he said. “But the mindset will be positive going into Pallekele.”
The home side, who began the day at 278-5, were steered out of trouble by a 89-run stand for the sixth wicket between Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews (47).
But Mathews' dismissal soon after lunch triggered a middle-order collapse in which Sri Lanka lost their last five wickets for 21 runs.
Sangakkara looked set for his ninth double-century when he fell against the run of play after defying Pakistan's attack for almost nine hours.
The left-hander stepped out to loft Rehman and only managed a thick edge to Taufeeq Umar at square-leg.
Sangakkara, who hit 15 fours and a six in his 30th Test century, raised a cry of anguish before walking off to warm applause from less than 500 spectators at the ground.
Sangakkara is already the highest run-getter against Pakistan, having surpassed Indian great Sunil Gavaskar's tally of 2,089 runs when he reached 60 on Tuesday.
He has nine three-figure knocks against Pakistan with a top score of 230 in Lahore in March, 2002.
The Test was marred by bad weather, which allowed just 71 of the stipulated 180 overs to be bowled on the second and third days.