By Simon Lewis, Wellington
Key moment: With a thrilling match cut down to 14 a side after the sin-binning of Mako Vunipola for a senseless late hit on Beauden Barrett, the series could have been thrown away after a listless and ill-disciplined Lions' second half playing with a man advantage following the first-half sending off of Sonny Bill Williams. Penalties from Beauden Barrett had the All Blacks leading 18-9 yet the Lions finally started to play, moving the ball left to right and back again through the 10-12 partnership of Sexton and Farrell, Taulupe Faletau finishing off a great attacking move by piling through Isreal Dagg in the left corner.
Back on the front foot, the Lions finally made their numerical advantage count, Conor Murray scoring on the other side of the posts and Owen Farrell slotting both the conversion and a 77th-minute penalty to take the series to a decider next week.
Talking point: The All Blacks lost their first Test on New Zealand soil since 2009, when the Springboks beat them in Hamilton eight years ago, and it took a mammoth effort from the Lions to stop that 45-match home winning streak. Warren Gatland's selection changes paid off in the Wellington rain while the forwards he accused of lacking pride picked the perfect moment to stand up be counted.
Key man: There were question marks over the selection of Sam Warburton at number six, particularly in Ireland with Peter O'Mahony the fall guy from the first Test yet the Lions captain showed his huge value to this team from the off, with an 80-minute display of leadership and breakdown power, stealing ball and guiding the tourists through a mid-second half wobble that threatened to end this series. Brilliantly supported by Sean O'Brien and Alun Wyn Jones, in particular, it was a massive performance from a previously maligned pack while the midfield axis of Murray, Sexton, Farrell and Davies brought the Lions backline to the boil when it mattered most late on.
Ref watch: The dismissal of Sonny Bill Williams for a no-arms tackle on Anthony Watson was entirely warranted by French official Jerome Garces.
The incident immediately incensed Lions players and Garces explained he had no option after video replays after Williams was shown throwing his shoulder into the wing's head. “I need to protect the player,” Garces told the All Black centre and few could argue with that. Nor the yellow card given to Lions prop Mako Vunipola for a cheap late hit on Beauden Barrett as the game simmered just below boiling point.
Penalties conceded: All Blacks 8 Lions 13
Injuries: No obvious injuries for the Lions with Anthony Watson returning from a Head Injury Assessment after being hit by Sonny Bill but All Blacks wing Waisake Naholo failed to return from his HIA in the second half.
Next up: Back to Eden Park for the third time on this 2017 Lions tour and for a potentially epic Test series decider in Auckland. First, though, the tourists take a detour to the South Island and Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand to regroup and launch their bid for a first Lions series win here since 1971.
Sonny Bill Williams was sent off as the British and Irish Lions claimed a thrilling Test series-levelling 24-21 victory over world champions New Zealand at Westpac Stadium.
Williams, one of the biggest names in world rugby, received his marching orders from French referee Jerome Garces after just 25 minutes of a titanic tussle for a dangerous shoulder charge to the head of Lions wing Anthony Watson.
He was the first All Blacks player to be sent off in a Test match since Colin Meads against Scotland 50 years ago, only the third All Black of all-time and first in New Zealand, and the home side were eventually floored by a 77th-minute Owen Farrell penalty to set up a series decider in Auckland next Saturday.
It was New Zealand's first home defeat since South Africa beat them in 2009, and their first against the Lions for 24 years.
Despite their one-man advantage, though, the Lions were almost made to pay for poor discipline, with All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett kicking seven penalties from 10 attempts, but second-half tries by number eight Taulupe Faletau and scrum-half Conor Murray - plus 14 points from Farrell - saw them home.
Lions prop Mako Vunipola was sin-binned for a poor challenge on Barrett during the third quarter, and at one stage, the Lions conceded five kickable penalties during a 14-minute spell.
New Zealand's 46-Test unbeaten record on home soil was eventually ended by the Lions amid wild scenes of celebration from their travelling fans.
The rain that arrived in Wellington from mid-afternoon swept down as the Lions made a purposeful start, with lock Alun Wyn Jones making an immediate impression with a crunching tackle, before a promising position inside New Zealand's 22 was ruined by a Maro Itoje knock-on.
But the Lions kept probing for space, not being afraid to keep ball in hand despite the conditions, and they dominated a scoreless opening 10 minutes in terms of possession and territory.
When New Zealand belatedly moved into the Lions' half, a sense of urgency surfaced as they moved forward at a rapid pace. An opening Barrett penalty strike, though, hit the post and it remained all square.
The Lions forwards were far more cohesive and physical than they had been seven days ago, yet they handed Barrett another penalty chance by collapsing a scrum, and this time Barrett made no mistake.
Farrell landed a superb kick from just inside New Zealand's half to level the match, and then came a huge moment as Williams was dramatically sent off.
Television replays showed what Garces described as "a direct charge on the head" and he had no hesitation in brandishing red to Williams, while Watson departed for a head injury assessment and was temporarily replaced by his fellow England wing Jack Nowell.
It meant the All Blacks faced a Herculean task for more than an hour, and they immediately began to change things as flanker Jerome Kaino was taken off and replaced by debutant back Ngani Laumape, before Watson returned.
Barrett and Farrell exchanged penalties in quick succession, before Barrett completed his hat-trick, but there was still time for Farrell to follow suit, making it 9-9 at half-time.
New Zealand began the second period in determined fashion, only for Barrett to miss an easy penalty chance after Itoje drifted offside, which allowed the Lions a considerable let-off.
The Lions, though, were their own worst enemies, and when Murray was penalised for a high tackle, Barrett stepped up and this time made no mistake from 35 metres out.
Seemingly gripped by indiscipline, the Lions then gave Barrett another opportunity - his third in seven minutes - but he sent it wide, before Vunipola's reckless late lunge on Barrett afforded him another kick, and he took New Zealand six points clear.
Vunipola was then yellow-carded, and Barrett kicked three more points, before a sweeping Lions move ended in Wales star Faletau touching down wide out to set up a thrilling final 20 minutes.
A seventh Barrett penalty arrived after the Lions fell offside inside their own 22, only for Murray to storm through a gap, touch down and see Farrell boot a match-levelling conversion.
And then came his winning strike with three minutes left after replacement All Blacks prop Charlie Faumuina was punished for an illegal challenge on Kyle Sinckler, and the Lions went wild.