Australia named Stuart Clark as their third paceman instead of Mitchell Johnson, who was named 12th man.
England preferred the more experienced Ashley Giles as their spinner ahead of Monty Panesar.
The match began under sunny skies with a huge crowd building and predictions of a 42,000 capacity crowd.
Australia haven't lost a Test at the Gabba since 1988 and are attempting to retrieve the Ashes trophy which they lost to England last year.
The Australians have put together 11 wins from their last 12 Tests (the other drawn), while England, excluding The Oval forfeit success against Pakistan, are just four out of 13.
Australia (from) - Ricky Ponting (captain), Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Damien Martyn, Mike Hussey, Michael Clarke, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Stuart Clark and Glenn McGrath. Mitchell Johnson (12th man).
England: Andrew Flintoff (capt), Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Kevin Pietersen, Geraint Jones, Ashley Giles, Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison and James Anderson. Sajid Mahmood (12th man).
Umpires: Steve Bucknor (WI) Billy Bowden (NZ)
Match Referee: Jeff Crowe (NZ)