AB de Villiers can do no wrong. He bats at fifth and first gears at will. He wins and saves matches with equal ease. He is a nightmare for live scorers, live bloggers, and statisticians across the world, but then, he is so delightful to watch that nobody cares about their professional woes. There have been several myths about him doing rounds on social media, some of which are actually true.

AB de Villiers can do no wrong. Or at least that is what the world believes. But on the night of March 24, 2006 in a Durban hotel, when he was barely 22 and was a mere 15 Tests old, the unthinkable happened. Ricky Ponting had won the toss, and as was the ordeal in 2006, he scored a hundred. South Africa fought back, and Australia were 228 for 5 by stumps.

De Villiers was supposed to open batting next day, so he, the model student for any coach or manager, went to bed at 8. The match was due to start at 10 the next morning. Our hero woke up, bleary-eyed, to find that it was 10.30 on his alarm-clock: it had almost certainly not gone off — or had he dozed his way through it?

He rushed to the dining room, and found that the food was being cleaned up after the meal. He somehow managed to acquire a slice of bread and rushed to get a taxi for Kingsmead… he was already late… what would the coach and captain and others say?

He did a double-take as he reached the foyer: why was it dark outside?

Then it dawned upon him: it was 10:30 PM, and it had been just over two hours since he had dozed off. Knowing fully that he would be ridiculed by his teammates, he tried to sneak back in — but was intercepted on his way back. The story got out.

De Villiers did a good job, scoring 50 and 46, but Ponting scored a second hundred; chasing 410 South Africa were reduced to 181 for 7 before the tail took them to 297. Shane Warne, with 6 for 86, was too much for them to handle.

Source: The Extraordinary Book of SA Cricket, by David O’Sullivan and Kevin McCallum