Ireland levelled the Test series with Australia by pulling off a 26-21 victory in Melbourne on Saturday.

There were tries from Munster wing Andrew Conway and Tadhg Furlong at AAMI Park while Johnny Sexton, returning at fly-half, excelled with the boot to propel Ireland clear.

Australia, who won the first Test 18-9, had Kurtley Beale and Taniela Tupou to thank for scoring but poor discipline cost the Wallabies dearly as Sexton was able to rack up four penalties. 

The tourists endured a horrible start as Kurtley Beale collected a pop pass from Bernard Foley and knifed through the heart of the Irish defence to touch down beside the posts after 83 seconds. 

Ireland responded brilliantly and their cause was aided by a dangerous tip tackle from Australian wing Marika Koroibete on Rob Kearney which referee Paul Williams punished with a yellow card. 

From the resulting penalty, Ireland mounted a powerful lineout maul. With advantage signalled, Murray took the ball off the back of the maul and lofted a pass wide to Andrew Conway who dived over in the corner. 

Ireland dominated for most of the remainder of the first half with the hosts' discipline letting them down time and time again. 

Three Sexton penalties between the 13th and 22nd minute opened up a nine point gap. 

The tackle on Rob Kearney which saw Marika Koroibete sin-binned early on 

However, on a rare venture up the field, the Australians manufactured a penalty try after Ireland collapsed the rolling maul. Williams pegged Cian Healy as the guilty man in the incident and flashed a yellow card. 

In stark contrast to the Aussies, who took water during their period down a man, the Irish coped well with their numerical disadvantage and reached half-time with the score remaining at 16-14 to Joe Schmidt's side. 

The tourists picked up from where they had left off and completely dominated the third quarter. On 53 minutes, Keith Earls appeared to have scored in the corner but the TMO adjudged that he lost the ball forward just prior to grounding it. 

But Ireland already had a penalty advantage and they once more piled on the pressure from the resulting lineout five metres out.  

Murray popped a pass to Tadhg Furlong who bulldozed over Nick Phipps to touch down. Sexton converted and, as Ireland continued to monopolise possession, added another penalty ten minutes later to extend the lead to 12 points. 

With four minutes remaining, Jack McGrath's sin-binning at the hands of the TMO - for a sneaky deliberate knock-on in the ruck as scrum half Nick Phipps attempted to recycle the ball - teed up a nervy finish. 

From the next attack, replacement prop Taniela Tupou ground his way over the line for an Australian try. 

At 26-21 and down to 14 men, Ireland had to withstand one last Australian attack. With less than 90 seconds remaining, the hosts were obliged to run the ball the length of the field.

They reached halfway before knocking the ball forward shortly after the full-time hooter sounded. 

For Ireland, it's a first win away to Australia since the victorious tour of 1979, and it tees up a deciding Test in Sydney next weekend.