Tahir was far from economical in the Proteas' drawn three-day tour match with Australia A, finishing with two for 157 off 40 overs, but selectors are set to stick with him instead of opting for a four-man pace attack in Brisbane.
The bouncy Gabba wicket generally favours pace bowling, but fast bowler Rory Kleinveldt is likely to be left out, despite finishing with an impressive two for 60 on a lifeless pitch.
Morne Morkel, rested from the Australia A match, will return to the line-up, joining the world's top two ranked bowlers Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, while star all-rounder Jacques Kallis (flu) will also return.
Assistant coach Russell Domingo said: "To be honest with you, the balance of the side with Kallis being there as the fourth seamer, whether you play four or five (fast bowlers) isn't really going to be that important.
"I think we'll always look to have a spinner in the side.
"Gone are the days when a South African team goes without a spinner.
"(Kleinveldt) bowled really well. He's been very impressive in domestic cricket for a while and he's been superb in our preparation this week."