Centurion: AB de Villiers went a world record 78 Test innings from his debut before he made his first duck. (Scorecard)
When he took over the South African captaincy in the third Test against England in Johannesburg he had only failed to score four times in 172 innings spread over 11 years.
But since then he has scored 36, 0, 0, 0.
He faced only five balls before the first duck in the sequence, when he was caught behind off Stuart Broad, the bowler who has dismissed him more often than anyone else in Tests.
In the current fourth Test he was out second ball, again to Broad. He completed a ‘pair’ when he was leg before wicket to James Anderson, again to the second ball he faced.
Before the match De Villiers had gone on record as respecting the English fast bowlers but suggested they had perhaps lost some pace.
Anderson confirmed his remark had not gone unnoticed. “It was nice to get the captain out,” he said.
“The comment he made before the game was mentioned in the huddle. It was nice to get him out early because he is a dangerous player.”