Adrian Vard scored an invaluable half century as Israel bounced back from an all too familiar top order collapse to post a good score of 172, which proved beyond the Australians' reach on Wednesday in Lod. Having won the toss and deciding to bat, the Israel top order again failed miserably, with wickets falling like dominoes to leave the innings in tatters at 37 for five, with opening bowler David Fayman having grabbed four of them. The Australian bowlers were guilty of conceding too many wides early on, or else things would have been even worse. However the middle order was expertly marshaled by Vard, who added 48 with Herschel Gutman (17) for the 6th wicket, and then 50 for the 7th wicket with Shalom Rubin (14), finishing 55 not out and ensuring a score of 172 that least gave the bowlers something to defend. Fayman finished with four for 43, and leg spinner David Majtus also bowled well in taking three for 37. The Israel opening bowlers Gerrit Grundling (none for 17 in 10) and Eliezer Samson (two for 20 in 10) were both right on target, making scoring difficult for the Australians, who never helped themselves by losing two of their top three batsmen to run outs. At 66 for 7 the game looked easily won by the hosts, but some excellent late hitting by Fayman (59), who refused to throw in the towel and added 31 for the last wicket, making the winning margin of 42 runs slightly closer than Israel would have expected. In junior cricket action on Wednesday, the South Africans marched to their second straight win, beating off a brave challenge by Israel at Kibbutz Gezer.