Galle, Nov 19: Tharanga Paranavitana hit an impressive 95 and Mahela Jayawardene a solid 58 to help Sri Lanka draw the opening Test against the West Indies today.
Sri Lanka, following on 202 runs behind, reached 241-4 in their second innings when play was called off due to rain after tea on the fifth and final day. Thilan Samaraweera was unbeaten on 19 and Angelo Mathews on five not out.
The West Indies now go into the second Test of the three-match at Colombo next week in a confident frame of mind, having dominated the opening match against favourites Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium.
Paranavitana, dropped on 53, guided Sri Lanka to safety with a defiant 87-run stand for the third wicket with former captain Jayawardene, who batted patiently for his second successive half-century.
The West Indies bowled well in the extended morning session, with paceman Kemar Roach grabbing two wickets off successive overs in a lively opening spell after the hosts had resumed at 89 for no loss.
The West Indies had a chance to put more pressure on Sri Lanka when Paranavitana edged off-spinner Shane Shillingford, but skipper Darren Sammy failed to hold on to the ball at first slip when the batsman was on 53.
The tourists then struggled for success as Paranavitana and Jayawardene took no risks during their stand to boost their team's chances of drawing the match.
Shillingford, who took four wickets in the first innings, also kept the pressure on the batsmen with his disciplined bowling and was rewarded for his hard work when he dismissed well-set Paranavitana.
Paranavitana, 44 overnight, missed out on his third Test century when he was caught at first slip by Sammy while attempting to steer the spinner. He hit eight fours in his 219-ball knock.
Jayawardene, who scored 59 in the first innings, reached his half-century in style when he lofted part-time spinner Brendan Nash for a straight six. He also hit seven fours in his 134-ball knock.
Nash removed Jayawardene in his next over, holding a return catch for only his second wicket in Test cricket.
The tourists started the day with pace from one end and spin from the other, succeeding in getting a wicket in the morning's fifth over when Roach bowled opener Tillakaratne Dilshan (54) with a yorker.
Dilshan, who added just 10 to his overnight score of 44, hit five fours in his 78-ball knock for his 16th Test half-century. He added 102 for the opening wicket with Paranavitana.
Roach nearly got the wicket of skipper Kumar Sangakkara with his next delivery, which was turned to square-leg but Andre Russell failed to hold on to a sharp chance. AFP