Benik Afobe gave the Cherries the lead with his second goal for the club, before Patrick Van Aanholt equalised with the last kick of the first-half. After a tense second-half, Eddie Howe's men took a well earned point to stay four points clear of the Barclays Premier League drop-zone.
The Cherries were on top in the opening exchanges and for the second week running, their high-tempo start helped yield the opening goal inside 15 minutes.
Harry Arter sprayed a wonderful cross-field ball to Junior Stanislas on the right, and the winger fizzed in a low cross which Afobe anticipated and he outmuscled John O'Shea to impressively nod in his second Premier League goal from eight-yards.
The momentum remained with the Cherries and Afobe and Stanislas continued to combine with great effect. The pair created another chance in the 25th minute, when Stanislas found Afobe who went for goal from 20-yards, forcing Vito Mannone to tip over. However, had the striker spotted Stanislas' run, the winger could have been put through one-on-one with Mannone.
From then, Sunderland had the attacking impetus and found their way through the tight Cherries defence right on the stroke of half-time. Fabio Borini threaded in Van Aanholt and the Dutch full-back smashed an effort past Artur Boruc in the area.
But the leveller right before the break didn't affect the Cherries as they started the second-half on the front foot.
Five minutes into the second 45, Stanislas had a great chance to slip in Arter who had made a great run to find space, but the Cherries number 19 opted for a shot on the edge instead which went harmlessly over.
Jermain Defoe then went close against his former club, hitting a swerving effort from 25-yards which flew narrowly wide of Boruc's left-post, before the Cherries number one was called upon to palm away Billy Jones' free-header from ten-yards.
It became an end-to-end game as the half progressed and Marc Pugh and Afobe were replaced by Matt Ritchie and Lewis Grabban.
The game calmed down though as the final 15 minutes approached, with the Cherries keeping the ball well, but they created a wonderful chance with six minutes to play which should have given them the lead.
Stanislas threaded an inch-perfect pass through to Grabban who was just onside and the striker looked certain to score as he was unmarked eight-yards out, but the January signing hit a low effort wide of the left-post.
Stanislas was then forced to hobble off after a rash challenge from Jones but that was the final action as the 1700 travelling supporters travelled home seeing the Cherries earn a hard fought point.
Boruc, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Stanislas (Murray 90), Surman, Gosling, Arter, Pugh (Ritchie 58), Afobe (Grabban 65).
Unused subs: Federici, Distin, O'Kane, Iturbe.
Sunderland: Mannone, Jones, O'Shea (c), Brown, Van Aanholt, Lens, Cattermole, M'Vila, Johnson, Borini (Watmore 67), Defoe.
Unused subs: Pickford, Coates, Yedlin, Rodwell, Fletcher, N'Doye.
Goals: Afobe (13), Van Aanholt (45)
Yellow cards: Surman
Referee: R East
Attendance: 41,367 (1700 away fans)