Vijay, who scored 53 and 99 in India’s 48-run defeat in the first Test in Adelaide last week, kept in the run groove and was nearing his third half-century of the series.
The tourists only lost the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan in the first session as they got to lunch at 89 for one.
Vijay was unbeaten on 46 with Cheteshwar Pujara not out 15.
Vijay and Dhawan safely negotiated the opening hour to get to drinks at 49 without loss.
Both batsmen had few problems on the Gabba pitch with Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc only rarely beating the bat.
But it was all-rounder Mitchell Marsh who made the initial breakthrough, getting his first Test wicket when Dhawan slashed away from his body and top-edged to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for 24.
Vijay had a ‘life’ in the following over from Johnson when he was put down on 36 by Shaun Marsh diving in the gully.
India made three changes with Mahendra Singh Dhoni returning as skipper after Virat Kohli led the tourists in their first Test defeat.
Dhoni eased out wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin replaced leg-spinner Karn Sharma and paceman Umesh Yadav came in for Mohammed Shami.
Australia unleashed a new-look fast bowling attack with Hazlewood and Starc in for injured Ryan Harris and axed Peter Siddle.
Shaun Marsh was recalled to bat at number five as a replacement for Michael Clarke, who is out for the rest of the series after a hamstring surgery, while Steve Smith captains Australia for the first time.
India have not won in five Tests at the Gabba, where the Australians have not lost since a nine-wicket defeat to the Viv Richards-led West Indies in 1988. (AFP)