Lancashire seamer Jordan Clark was simply trying to stem the flow of boundaries and settle into his spell on the first morning of the County Championship clash with Yorkshire.
What happened next has been hailed by some as the greatest hat-trick ever taken, and none were as surprised as Clark himself.
England's Test captain Joe Root, playing for Yorkshire to get some first-class practice ahead of the opening Test against India next week, had started with a flurry, smacking five boundaries in his first 18 balls.
Two of those came off successive balls from Clark in his second over after coming on second change behind Jimmy Anderson.
Root then prodded forward and was struck in front, given out LBW. Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain, was caught on the crease and also leg before. Jonny Bairstow then prodded nervously and edged to third slip to leave Yorkshire 4-59.
It sparked wild celebrations as Clark raced off with arms spread wide like aeroplane wings, jubilant at having dismissed batsmen ranked second, third and 16th in the ICC's official Test batting rankings.
"I was happy to get my first wicket, so to get three in a row, I was over the moon," Clark told the Lancashire club website.
It was only the second hat-trick by a Lancashire bowler in a Roses match, the other achieved by Ken Higgs at Headingley in 1968.
Root, Williamson and Bairstow have a combined 30,372 first-class runs between them, with 14,639 scored in Test cricket.
The calibre of the dismissed batsmen saw the feat compared with other notable hat-tricks, such as Glenn McGrath's against the West Indies at the WACA Ground in 2000 when he dismissed Sherwin Campbell, Brian Lara and Jimmy Adams, or Harbhajan Singh's 2001 hat-trick that included Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne.
"I've no idea (if it is the best hat-trick)," Clark said. "It's obviously up there because they are all top international players.
"Any hat-trick is great to get but getting those three makes it very special. It will live long in my memory."
Clark is no stranger to impressive feats against Yorkshire, having hit spinner Gurman Randhawa for six sixes in an over in a 2013 second XI match, and he collected a swag of awards in a season with Newton and Chilwell in the Geelong Cricket Association in the 2016-17 summer when he scored 394 runs at 43.44 and collected 30 wickets at 15.87.
Standing at the top of his mark for the hat-trick ball at Old Trafford, Clarke was not overawed.
"I was basically just trying to bowl my best ball," he said.
"Just try and repeat what I had done for the previous two balls. I wasn't trying to over-complicate it."
Clark finished with a career-best haul of 5-58, having also picked up Jack Brooks, who chipped to extra cover, and bowling Ben Coad.
He also ran out Tim Bresnan at the non-striker's end after getting a hand on an Adam Lyth straight drive.
Scorecard: Yorkshire v Lancashire
But Lancashire's joy at bowling Yorkshire out for 192 was soured by their own efforts with the bat, dismissed for just 109.
"This afternoon took the sting of it a little bit after the way we've gone with the bat," Clark added. "But we've got a big opportunity tomorrow to turn it around."