Brisbane: Australia won the toss and chose to bat at the start of the Ashes series as they began their defence of an unbeaten Test record at the Gabba since West Indies toured in 1988-89. It was a clear, blue day, but the humidity levels were manageable for the bowlers and there was enough moisture in the surface to persuade Australia that they might have won an influential toss.
England opted for Chris Tremlett as their third seamer, a show of faith after an indifferent county season, and Matt Prior was fit to resume his wicketkeeping role after a calf injury.
George Bailey became Australia’s 436th Test cap and was presented with the baggy green before start of play by a former captain, Mark Taylor. Only four players remained from Australia’s first Test of last summer against South Africa.
Only three months have elapsed since England retained the Ashes in a home series, but for all that there was a sense of keen anticipation at a stadium where Australia have dominated like no other.
Australia, beaten 3-0 in England, have talked up their chances, but that part of the tour is over. Michael Clarke, Australia’s captain, said: “Both teams are keen to start playing so let’s get it underway. I think we learned a lot in England and we will find out how much we have learned in in the next five matches.”
Australia 1 Chris Rogers, 2 David Warner, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Steven Smith, 6 George Bailey, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Peter Siddle, 10 Ryan Harris, 11 Nathan Lyon.
England 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Michael Carberry, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Joe Root, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Chris Tremlett, 11 James Anderson.