Lost ball

The Laws make provision for what happens if the ball is lost within the field of play during a match. This is undoubtedly a hangover from the days when cricket grounds were more rustic affairs, with most of the 'mowing' done by cattle or sheep and when patches of long grass were commonplace and boundaries as we know them now did not exist. Nevertheless there are occasional incidents, even these days, of the ball becoming lost or, usually and more accurately, 'difficult to retrieve' - balls disappearing down a field drain or into a sprinkler mechanism are favourite candidates!
If the ball is lost the fielders are advised to call Lost ball without delay. This will result in the award of 6 runs to the striker, if he hit it, or to the batting side's total of extras if it was a Wide, Bye, Leg bye or No ball. If no-one thinks to call Lost ball and the batsmen run more than 6 runs, then all those runs will count instead of just the 6. If the ball really is irretrievable, the umpires should replace it with one with similar wear to the one that has absented itself from the match.