Catches-win-matches is an age old cliche that is running in cricket ever since Tony Greig made is famous. But little did any one realize that it's the edges-induced that really win matches. And the bowling lineup that produces those catches would be a captain's dream. In our era the attack comprising Mcgrath, Lee, Gillespie and Warne induced more edges than the rest of the world put-together.
Whenever a batsman gets out caught, we always owe it to a rash shot or a mishit by the batsman; never-ever does one realize the pressure buildup that led to this. They say every time the bowler gets past the edge or get an edge, the confidence level of the batsman is halved; some smile and some look perplexed. It takes courage from the batsman to attempt the same shot again; and consecutive edges past the bat and you have a set a bait for a false shot. At this point you either witnessing a wicket or a single depending upon the greatness of the batsman. Irrespective of the outcome the bowler has won this battle.
The common denominator of successful teams is the no of wickets taken behind the wicket, same is true for any batting collapse; number of caught behinds and slip catches. Even though there is a positive correlation b/w the type of the wicket and mode of dismissal, the credit shouldn't be take away from the bowlers.
And this statistics isn't restricted to fast bowler. It gets a bit interesting with spinners, take top 3 spinner, Murli, Warne & Kumble. Their most common mode is dismissals are LBW which is a direct effect of the number of edged they induced and foxed the batman with their other-one. So is true with their deep catches and wild slogs over the cow corners. That is why you see spinners pushing their field back after 4 good balls, they sense storm after the calm.
Ball just doesn't kiss the bat, it even manages to kiss the batsman's brain good bye.
Every spell of great bowling atleast in test cricket is always preceded with a bunch of edge-inductions, take either Ishant-Ponting-over where he beats ponting's bat couple times and ponting eventually edges one to Dravid or the Flintof-Ponting of the 2005 ashes the over which completely changed the momentum the series, same is true with the less-famous Flintof-Gilchrist encounter during the same series. The first ball Flintoff balls an outswinger to gilly around the wicket and beats the bat after he had confused him with in-swinger and outswingers the first innings. And there is a rye smile on Gilly's face acknowledging the master act.
Simon Jones proved that even a tea break can't erase the mental block of the ball going past the edge in the all famous Jones-Clarke incident. Jones went past clarke's bat with his outswingers all after noon, and the first ball after tea he brings the ball back in and Clarke shoulders arm and ball crashes onto middle and leg; I mean middle-leg. These were a few examples where each time the bowler looked twice as effective and batsman half as confident due to the edges that were induced. There could be tons of incidents Wasim, Waqar and Mcgrath had gone past the edge and eventually got the batsman out.
On the lighter side it's not the batsman that are only influenced by these edge-induction even the spectator feel the pinch. Imagine a legal betting ground and the odds are high on the batsman to succeed, and there comes a bowlers who does nothing but gets some to pass the edge and some take the edge, definitely the odds to succeed would remain the same.
I sure one day our commentators analyze this and come up with a new cliche
PS: This theory and many more theories don't apply to Sehwag!