January 27, 2009

Australia v South Africa 2008-09

Fast-tracked Australians

Jamie Alter

South Africa's series-clinching win over Australia on January 26 - Australia Day - was special for the country's cricket fans, for it followed the historic Test win on what has been an epic tour Down Under. But for one family, being at the Adelaide Oval and witnessing South Africa beat Australia was bittersweet, for they had only a few hours before switched over to the other side.

The Fasts, formerly of Johannesburg, chose the national holiday to become Australians, a few of among about 13,000 people from 120 countries to do likewise. They had only moved to Australia five years ago, bowled over by the openness and sociability of Adelaide.

Before the match, the Fasts walked out in front of a full house and spoke a few words. "We fell so in love with the country and decided it would be a good move for us," Cathryn Fast told The Australian."We had to think long-term for our three beautiful children, what would be best for our family. We thought about it long and hard and decided it would be wonderful to be part of the Australian life here."

Her husband, Ralph, said the family hadn't expected to become citizens at the venue, and certainly not when South Africa played Australia.

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Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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