return crease



  • noun either of two lines marked on the ground at each end of the bowling crease and at right angles to it, extending at least 4 feet/1.22m behind the wicket and (usually) as far forward as the popping crease, but considered to be of unlimited length. The return creases mark the lateral limits of the bowler’s territory for the purposes of determining whether a delivery is fair, the object being to prevent the bowler from delivering the ball from too wide an angle. For a delivery to be fair, ‘the bowler’s back foot must land within and not touching the return crease’ (Law 24 § 5). The return crease makes its first appearance in the second major code of Laws, dated 1774.