Colombo – Kumar Sangakkara hit an unbeaten 187 as Sri Lanka easily avoided the embarrassment of a follow-on in the second Test against Pakistan in Colombo on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka, who started the fifth and final day's play at 278-5

and needed 74 more runs to make Pakistan bat again, went to lunch on 367-5 in reply to the tourists' 551-6 declared.

With a draw imminent, Sri Lanka will retain their 1-0 lead in the three-Test series after winning the opening encounter in Galle by 209 runs.

The third and final Test starts in Pallekele, near the hill town of Kandy, on Sunday.

Sangakkara, who was stranded on 199 not out in the first Test, looked set for his ninth double-century after defying Pakistan's attack for eight hours on a docile pitch.

The left-hander has so far hit 15 fours and one six in his 30th Test hundred.

Angelo Mathews was the other batsman at the crease on 46, having partnered Sangakkara for the entire morning session to add 89 for the sixth wicket.

Sangakkara is already the highest run-getter against Pakistan, having surpassed Indian great Sunil Gavaskar's tally of 2,089 runs from 24 Tests 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 has been marred by bad weather, which allowed just 71 of the stipulated 180 overs to be bowled on the second and third days. – Sapa-AFP