Despite Burnley enjoying the best of the early stages, this one always looked like it was going to be a closely fought battle. Sunderland had the greater quality - though not so great as to frighten those in claret and blue - whilst the hosts possessed the greater energy.
The first half, in truth, was close to as dull as it gets. Everything was in the middle of the pitch, and in the rare, often hurried sorties into the final third, both teams were wasteful and restricted themselves to long-range efforts.
What chances there were, Sunderland enjoyed the best of. Emanuelle Giaccherini, making his first start of the season after some encouraging substitute cameos, and Connor Wickham both got long ranged efforts on target, and Jack Rodwell and Santiago Vergini both saw headers go relatively close.
However, the very best chance of the first half probably fell to Burnley. David Jones enjoyed some incisive interplay with Lukas Jutkiewicz before firing tamely straight at Vito Mannone. In truth, no side looked likely to break the deadlock before half time, though.
It didn't get any better after the break, either. In fact, it actually got worse. The long range efforts kept on raining in, with Connor Wickham apparently especially determined to blast every opportunity to craft something into a defender from 30 yards.
Rodwell, having a strong game in central midfield, kept on getting efforts on target, but they never looked like getting through, and as the game progressed it was Burnley who looked like winning it. Scott Arfield nearly sneaked an effort in the near post, before there was a big penalty claim as Giaccherini bundled into Jutkiewicz.
There was one huge heart-in-mouth moment left for both teams though as the game meandered towards stalemate. Ashley Barnes deflected shot bounced off the bar at one end before Patrick van Aanholt thwacked a brilliant long-range effort against the Burnley post, the rebound only staying out thanks to the kindest of touches off Tom Heaton in goal.
There was to be no breakthrough, however, and 0-0 was probably a fair old reflection.
Sunderland (4-3-3): Mannone; Vergini, O'Shea, Brown, Van Aanholt; Cattermole, Rodwell, Larsson (Gomez '66); Johnson (Altidore '66), Giaccherini (Buckley '72), Wickham
Burnley (4-4-2): Heaton; Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee; Arfield, Jones (Wallace '85), Marney, Boyd (Reid '90); Sordell (Barnes '62), Jutkiewicz