Ireland's historic three-match series will come down to a winner-takes-all finale in Sydney next Saturday after the tourists secured a first away win in Australia in exactly 39 years.
With big hitters like Johnny Sexton and Tadhg Furlong back in the starting XV following the 18-9 first Test reversal, Joe Schmidt's Six Nations champions produced some of their best rugby of the season as they over-powered the Wallabies at the breakdown, where captain Peter O'Mahony was immense.
Both sides will count the cost of this bruising encounter in the coming days after a host of players were forced off injured, but Ireland have the wind in their sails after tries from Andrew Conway and Furlong and a 16-point haul from Sexton saw them home 26-21 in front of an attendance of 29,018.
Prop Cian Healy could find himself in disciplinary trouble after Australia coach Michael Cheika questioned his role in scrum-half Will Genia's departure.
The Wallaby number nine's series is over after he broke his arm in a 25th-minute incident involving the Leinster star, who himself departed a physical contest early with a shoulder injury early in the second-half.
Genia will undergo surgery on the injury but should be fit for the Rugby Championship.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt was upbeat about the prospects of Andrew Conway (hip), Dan Leavy (sternum) and Healy's capacity to recover in time for the final Test.
Although Australia were upset with the circumstances surrounding Genia's injury, they do not intend to report the incident to the authorities.
However, citing commissioner Mike O'Leary may choose to review Healy's actions.
Ireland's win was their first over Australia away from home since 1979, but Schmidt will not celebrate until his team finish the job next week.
"All we did was balance the series," he said.
"I think it all depends on what we can deliver next week and I know the Wallabies will be thinking the same thing.
"They're a really good side and if they do get a bit more access I know as you saw toward the end we were chasing shadows.
"So, nothing feels monumental when it's one-all. It feels like there's still a huge amount to play for.
"We'll glue ourselves back together, get the trip out of the way to Sydney tomorrow and Monday, have a bit of a look back at the game and then get back out on the training pitch in North Sydney Oval and try to work our way through things.
"There's still a few things that we know we need to do better because we know they're going to keep getting better."
Although a series win is the primary goal, the Ireland head coach is intent on continuing his rotation policy with next year's World Cup in mind after handing a Test debut to Scarlets second-row Tadhg Beirne.
"We definitely want to win the series, but we've probably got 10 games now between this tour and when we go into our warm-up to the World Cup," he said.
"The thing that we want to believe about our squad is that there's less and less between players, and so selection is a contest every time."