Mark Stoneman and James Vince combined defiantly in their first experience of Ashes cricket to blunt Australia's much-hyped pace attack and help England to 59-1 in the first session of the series.
Mitchell Starc struck in the third over to have former England captain Alastair Cook (2) caught at first slip with the total at two, exposing a left-right second-wicket pair with a combined 10 previous test caps to a potentially hostile initiation.
But the Australians were unable to capitalize on the early breakthrough, and Vince (32 not out) and Stoneman (25 not out) weathered the new ball in a 57-run stand that took the tourists to lunch without further loss after skipper Joe Root won the toss and batted.
The banter and bluster from the Australians leading up to the Gabba test centered on their 5-0 sweep here the last time England toured in 2013-14, when a local pace trio spearheaded by Mitchell Johnson intimidated the batsmen and set the foundation for a series domination.
Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins toiled in slightly damp conditions on a wicket yet to produce the kind of extra bounce that the Brisbane venue is famous for.
Root predicted the first two hours of the first test could set the tone for the series and, if that's the case, the second-wicket pair showed the England batsmen were determined to stick around.
The outcome of the toss ensured Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins would be under the spotlight from the first ball at the Gabba, where they're all playing their first Ashes match on home soil and where the Australians haven't lost a test since 1988.
Starc returned 1-14 from 10 overs. Cummins had Stoneman rocking back on his heels with a bouncer in his second over that caught the England opener off guard, and finished the session with 0-13.
In the 11th over, Hazlewood fielded off his own bowling and hurled the ball back toward the stumps. Vince responded by stroking two subsequent deliveries for boundaries.
Nathan Lyon (0-8) caused some difficulties for the batsmen, joining the attack in the 18th over and getting his first ball to turn sharply.
England holds the Ashes after winning the 2015 series 3-2 at home, regaining the urn after its lopsided loss in Australia last time.