Warne turns his arm over at Kowloon © Brand-Rapport

Shane Warne, Brian Lara and Glenn McGrath starred for the All Stars team on the opening day of the Hong Kong Sixes at the tiny and picturesque Kowloon Cricket Club to make them firm favourites for the title.

The All Stars cruised past Australia, Bangladesh and last year's winners, South Africa, to top the Sobers group and move into tomorrow's quarter-finals. And although Lara played his part, crunching four fours and lifting two huge sixes into the stands, the unlikely batting highlight came from McGrath who smashed his first ball for six before attempting an audacious reverse sweep.

"It has been over six months since I last picked up a bat, so maybe that was the secret," McGrath said. "I think I have only hit the one six [in internationals], when I got my Test 61 [against New Zealand in 2004]. That was my first 'Sixes six' and my first in any format of the one-day game.

"It has been a very a good day for us. We started off a bit rusty in that first game, but the way we batted and bowled in the last two games were exceptional.

"[Against South Africa] we were going along well and we did not need too many more runs, so Warney and Brian and a few of the boys said to get in there and have a bit of fun. It came off for me perfectly."

This year's event features eight leading cricketing nations, including defending champions South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and England, plus hosts Hong Kong and, for the first time, an All Stars team.