Prior's absence, for the first time since 2008 and therefore before the coaching era of Andy Flower, accounted for one of two changes from the last Test - in which England lost the urn with a third successive defeat.
Graeme Swann's mid-series retirement left a vacancy for a spinner, filled here by Monty Panesar, while Stuart Broad was passed fit following his recovery from a bruised right foot.
Australia were, as expected, unchanged - as they have been throughout the series.
Michael Clarke also won the toss again but decided this time to bowl first on a showery morning.
- Sports & Recreation
- Graeme Swann
- Monty Panesar
- Andy Flower
- Stuart Broad