Kumar Sangakkara shut England out again at Lord's to make a stalemate the likeliest outcome in the first Investec Test.
Sangakkara followed up his memorable first-innings hundred with an unbeaten 59 out of Sri Lanka's teatime 164 for three, in pursuit of a notional ground-record 390 on the final day.
England's new Test era, under new management following last winter's Ashes whitewash defeat, was therefore perhaps destined to be marked by an unremarkable draw on a benign pitch which steadfastly refused to deteriorate.
The nearest the hosts came to discomforting Sri Lanka, after declaring overnight, were Liam Plunkett's efforts to do so with the short ball against opener Kaushal Silva (57) and then Mahela Jayawardene.
But Sangakkara, who had broken new ground two days ago with his first Lord's Test hundred in what may well be his last appearance at the home of cricket for Sri Lanka, appeared in control throughout.
He shared a second-wicket stand of 98 with Silva, and then joined forces with his oldest ally Jayawardene - until James Anderson found enough full-length movement to have the latter caught behind just before tea.
Stuart Broad made the solitary new-ball breakthrough on another cloudy morning, Dimuth Karunaratne's inside edge on to his thigh pad going straight to Sam Robson at short leg to give the seamer his 50th Test wicket at HQ.
Diminutive opener Silva did have one or two awkward moments when Plunkett replaced Anderson at the pavilion end and started to test him from round the wicket to a packed leg-side field.
One bouncer did not make the expected height and hit Silva on the helmet.
Sangakkara remained untroubled, and unhurried, as England huffed and puffed on a pitch still offering the bowlers so little.
He lost Silva, who had made a two-and-a-half-hour 50, caught behind down the leg side off his glove as he tried too late to leave a Chris Jordan bouncer.
England had to review the initial not-out decision to achieve just their second success in 43 overs.
Plunkett then tested out Jayawardene in predictable fashion - but despite one particularly well-directed delivery, just kept out of the clutches of short leg, the plan did not come to fruition.
Sangakkara had spent 31 deliveries stuck on 43 during early afternoon, and went 102 at one stage between boundaries.
He reached his 50 from 137 balls - having hit just three boundaries.