Captain Graeme Smith says South Africa will take a psychological advantage over Sri Lanka into this week's second Test after the drawn series-opener.
Smith batted out much of the day, making 74
The tourists batted out Sunday's final day in Galle on a crumbling pitch favouring the Sri Lanka spinners.
"Two months ago, people must have been questioning whether the match was going to last five days," said Smith.
"We played some serious cricket and go to Colombo with more confidence than Sri Lanka."
The two sides have just two days' break before the second and final Test begins in the Sri Lankan capital.
Smith added: "We have a got a few things we can improve on but, at the moment, they are asking more questions than we are."
Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu was surprised spinner Muttiah Muralitharan did not play more of a part.
Murali, who missed the recent series in Australia, managed a single wicket as the tourists batted out the final day.
"It is a bit unusual from a captain's point of view to see him not taking the number of wickets that he normally does," Atapattu said.
"Their batters handled him well, but he is playing after a long time [away]."
Muralitharan has been prevented by the International Cricket Council from bowling his 'doosra' leg-break delivery because it breaks current rules.
"The authorities have asked him to stop bowling one of his key weapons and he has to readjust his bowling pattern and thinking," Atapattu added.
"He is, though, a man of great experience. Hopefully he will bounce back in Colombo."