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US woman @theashes gives in to Twitter, flies to Sydney

Wisdom of crowds turns nanny into cricket connoisseur

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A US children's nanny whose boyfriend gave her the twitter handle @theashes, prompting a flurry of confusing messages by cricket-loving tweeters as a result, has made it Down Under for the final test match in Sydney.

Ashley Kerekes, 22, had turned on text notification for new messages on her phone. As a result she received a series of perplexing messages in the middle of the night inquiring about the score of the first test in Brisbane back in November.

The Massachusetts woman initially responded tetchily when her feed was swamped with talk of runs, wickets and innings. "This is not the account of the cricket match. Check profiles before you send mentions, its[sic] incredibly annoying and rude," Kerekes wrote.

The young woman normally tweets about looking after children, knitting and TV shows such as Glee.

But as Kerekes' follower account swelled from 300 to 13,500 plus and the inadvertent culture clash became an internet sensation, her mood improved, especially when the commercial offers came rolling in. Some of her new followers began a #gettheashestotheashes campaign to send her to Australia. Qantas airlines offered her a flight, which she initially declined, successfully holding out for a seat for her boyfriend as well. Kerekes also launched a line of T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan: "I am not a freaking cricket match".

Kerekes, who almost missed her flight as she fought through snowstorms to make it New York's JFK airport, made it successfully to Sydney in time for this week's final test. While there she met Aussie cricket legend Steve Waugh, former Aussie prime minister John Howard and actor Eric Bana before taking in the game.

The 22-year-old Westfield resident was interviewed by the BBC's Test Match Special. She told presenter Jonathan Agnew that she was staying neutral between England or Australia. She also expressed a new-found enthusiasm for leather-on-willow action. "It's like chess and baseball combined," she said.

Meanwhile, out on the pitch, England are three wickets away from wrapping up a convincing 3-1 win over the old enemy. Barring miracles, Friday will mark the team's first test series victory in Australia for 24 years and England's greatest sporting triumph since the national rugby team's victory in the World Cup, also in Sydney, back in 2003. ®

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